A Tunisia-based startup teams up with Orange to fill a niche for Arabic-language edutainment

Toufoula Kids is a startup with a compelling idea: to meet a demand for edutainment in the Arabic-speaking world. Their success story – their VivaStory – started when they were hosted on the Orange Lab at the 2018 edition of Viva Technology after applying to the Open Innovation Challenges. “The adventure for us really took off with our participation [at VivaTech],” says Awatef Mosbeh, founder of Toufoula Kids. “Feedback from investors, decision-makers and from other startups really gave us a boost and helped us move forward with our project.”

The Toufoula Kids mobile app, launched in Tunisia in 2016, links to an off-screen print magazine to provide fun, Augmented Reality (AR) content for children aged four to twelve. The app offers a full menu of cartoons, DIY workshops, interactive stories, and AR gaming, but it also introduces concepts – human rights, civic education, environmental protection – to prepare kids to become “citizens of the future”. Content is available in Arabic, French and English, but the company says they began as a response to a shortage of Arabic-language digital content for young people.

VivaTech led to a more precise understanding of the marketplace for Toufoula Kids as a provider of content: “There is a huge demand for quality content in the MENA region,” notes Awatef Mosbeh. “Today our idea is to open our platform to content producers by providing them with technical tools but also by partnering with tech companies to fill the ‘content’ niche.”

Toufoula Kids signed a partnership agreement with the Fondation Orange to supply educational content across multiple platforms including the open-source Orange Library, accessible from Europe and Africa. The startup has also begun to deploy content on tablets in 70 schools included in the Fondation Orange’s Digital Schools program. The Toufoula Kids app has won several awards, among them the Orange Social Entrepreneurial Prize and the MBC 500 Prize for best educational app in the Arab world.

“We always mention our VivaTech participation in our pitches,” Awatef Mosbeh adds. “It gives us a lot of credibility with investors and can help us to open new markets.”