Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Welcome to another edition of our interview series. For this interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Mitja Mavsar, the creator of the MCA award-winning product, Speech Blubs, and CXO of its founding company, Blub Blub Inc. Speech Blubs is a speech learning app for kids and is perfect for parents who wish to boost their child’s speech in a fun, interactive, and effective way. Keep reading to find out more about Speech Blubs and the man responsible for its creation, Mitja Mavsar!
MCA: Hi Mitja! Congratulations on your Mom’s Choice Award! Speech Blubs is a great learning tool for children who are struggling with their speech progression or children who just want to practice their speech. There was obviously a lot of knowledge and experience with speech therapy that went into creating such an innovative and helpful app. Can we start by hearing a little bit about that experience and about your background in general?
Mitja: My name is Mitja and I’m one of the four co-founders of Blub Blub Inc. I’m very interested in user behavior, digital products for kids, and parenting. We are running a young startup and at home, I have 4 young kids, so my days tend to be quite full of…erm, hobbies.
The four co-founders pursued our professional careers in digital agencies, design studios, and startups. None of us has a background in speech therapy or teaching, which made us a bit insecure at the beginning. We entered an industry with a lack of industry knowledge and experience, so we surrounded ourselves with a network of speech therapists, interviewed a lot of parents and other experts. We soon realized the problem is huge! Parents and kids are waiting for months and years for their first therapy session. It’s the worst in the poor communities, where countless kids don’t get the service and support they need to learn such a basic thing as speech, language, or reading. Our company is on the mission to fix that.
MCA: As a child who used speech therapy myself, I can say that I wish I had an app like Speech Blubs when I was growing up. With no background in speech therapy or teaching, why did you all choose to create a speech app such as Speech Blubs?
Mitja: All co-founders had speech problems as children, which made the creation of our product a rather intimate pursuit. In the beginning, we were not able to afford fancy animations, but we had some knowledge of video production. So we went to the studio with a couple of speech therapists and recorded real kids producing words, animal noises, and even some basic mouth movements.
We soon noticed kids love seeing and imitating their peers in the app, and that there’s a fair amount of research behind topics like human mirror neurons and video-modeling.
MCA: That is so interesting, I definitely have to look into the research behind human mirror neurons and video-modeling! What are the key features of the app? What makes Speech Blubs stand out over apps that are similar to it?
Mitja: We use videos of real kids, which makes our app’s experience very similar to real interaction among siblings or peers on the children’s playground. This “reality” makes our app stand from the crowd. We are also probably the only kid’s app using facial recognition, speech recognition, and even fun videos (with farting sounds) for educational purposes. It’s a combination of the latest technology and fun educational content.
MCA: I’m sure children get a real kick out of those fun noises! What is the goal Speech Blubs is trying to accomplish? Who is Speech Blubs meant for?
Mitja: Our users are mostly parents with very young kids (1-5). Parents can check if their child’s communication skills are on par with their peers, and children can enjoy fun activities, designed to boost their confidence and communication skills.
We are helping kids say, mommy, daddy, and other first words improve the clarity of their speech, and improve their communication skills in general. Our app teaches kids to produce sounds and words, but also about expressing emotions. We have topics on colors, shapes, animals, space, dinosaurs. We have songs and riddles. It’s a lot of content in there!
MCA: The more the content, the more the fun! What kind of impact has Speech Blubs made?
Mitja: Earlier this year we surpassed 1 million downloads, but that’s just a number. We are super proud of our service whenever we get a thank you note from a mom saying “you guys helped my child say mommy for the first time.”
We are also a big part of the lives of the bravest parents out there: Parents with non-verbal kids on the spectrum, with a diagnosis like apraxia, down syndrome, and similar, say our product also helps establish eye contact, pragmatical, comprehension and play skills. And we are extremely grateful that we can make a difference in their lives.
MCA: What are some of the activities you’re involved in beyond Speech Blubs (community, blog, ambassadors, SLP network)?”
Mitja: We have an amazing team and network. Our ambassadors’ network is growing rapidly, and our SLP network is helping us on all fronts. There are hundreds of helpful articles on our blog, and the number is still growing. On Thursdays, you can join our live Instagram sessions where we host parents and experts.
MCA: What does the future hold for Speech Blubs?
Mitja: In the future, we want to help more kids, and create more skill-building products for young kids. We are launching our early-literacy app this summer.
Speech Blubs currently supports 5 languages, and this number will grow. Using our app, an American speaking parent can now expose their child to kids who speak British English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
MCA: That is wonderful, we look forward to seeing what’s next for Blub Blub Inc.!
You can learn more about Mitja Mavsar and his award-winning product, Speech Blubs, by visiting his MCA Shop pages.