RALEIGH – Keepsake Tales, a digital publishing startup focusing on children’s literature with the goal of adding diversification to selections, has landed a $50,000 investment from The Launch Place.

Launch Place operates in Danville, Va. and Research Triangle Park.

“Keepsake Tales fits the profile of companies we invest in and can stand behind,” says The Launch Place CEO Eva Doss. “Not only are they engaged in developing new and better methods in the publishing sector, but they are producing a product that is generating social change and bettering communities around the world.”

The two-year-old firm is the brainchild of cofounders Erin Burchik and Mike Vaggalis. The funds will be used to fupgrade its machine learning technology, new story designs, and to revamp its website, the company said.

Keepsake Tales

“We want to revolutionize children’s literature,” says Vaggalis, a self-described “book nerd.” “That’s the only way that we can get to true inclusion.”

Peruse the children’s shelves of your local bookstore these days, and Vaggalis told WRAL TechWire a year ago that the “overwhelming” majority of them will feature white and able-bodied protagonists.

“With their small team they wrote the story and developed the artwork for a Christmas nativity-themed book that sold out when they held their first sale in November of 2019. Keepsake Tales have since developed another storybook that also sold out and plan to launch their newest book, ‘The Bear Hug,’ in October of this year,” The Launch Place notes.

How the Keepsake process works:

“The customization process for the storybooks produces a cartoon “Champion” that is highly representative of the featured child’s appearance. Customers will be prompted to upload a photo into the Keepsake Tales Personalization Engine. This tool leverages Machine-Learning to produce a Champion that is featured as the protagonist of the story. The customer can then adjust the Champion, for instance changing the hair-style, until the illustration is a perfect match of the child. The rapid growth of some of our competitors demonstrate a high and growing demand for this type of product, however there are major gaps that exist in the current personalization market. Namely, our competitors have relatively few personalization options, which results in many children who they are unable to serve. Keepsake Tales is disrupting this market with an entirely new illustration model that will allow us to uniquely deliver on our brand promise – every child will see themselves as the champion of their own Keepsake Tale. Vaggalis also says that children who are differently abled are rarely represented or given the option to personalize a character with their abilities in a customizable book. Keepsake Tales produces the stories and illustrations inhouse, using a proprietary technology that they’ve developed to automate the photo-to-illustration transformation, and integration into the pages of their stories.”

Source: The Launch Place

Raleigh startup Keepsake Tales offers personalized books making your child the star