It’s exciting enough when we hear about developers taking existing apps and putting them on our new Windows 8 platform, but it’s even more exciting when it’s a brand new app that is breaking new ground – and in children’s education.  Infantium is one of a number of W8 apps being developed by innovators and entrepreneurs in Spain. 

CEO and co-founder Karen Marquez tells us about Infantium and the Windows 8 experience so far.

 “Evidence shows that learning during a child’s early years has a huge impact on their future development.  Using games to teach children for cognitive development is nothing new, but we had the idea for a more interactive approach that gets feedback from the child and then adapts to suit his or her own pace.  No two children learn the same way, so learning methods should reflect that.

Infantium keeps the whole experience fun for children, but how they interact with the game is then fed back into our cloud-based service, which applies parameters to analyse the children’s actions and then creates a learning path that is specific to that child.  The focus is on the acquisition of skills around symbolic thinking, languages, problem-solving, attention-at-pace and speed.  We are targeting both parents and educationalists.

 We presented our idea at two events – Seedrocket and Bizbarcelona – where we won a prize, but more important was the connections and visibility that gave us. The company was launched in June 2012 and at the moment and we’ve been intensively focused on developing the app, as well as building relationships with the market and potential partners.

Microsoft has been instrumental in the app right from the beginning, even when it was just an idea on a single powerpoint slide!  The company’s support helped us to secure investors and that has been critical to getting our app launched.  Microsoft has also helped us make the right connections, including local universities, local government, schools and other technology institutions.  Carlos in the public sector team and Elisa in the BizSpark team deserve a particular mention, but the whole team has been a great help. We are also a BizSpark Plus company, meaning that we get a lot of access to resources, particularly Windows Azure.   

So why Windows 8 and not another platform?  The amount of help we have had from Microsoft is a big factor, of course, but Windows 8 is a fantastic product and we wouldn’t be betting our future on it if we didn’t believe that it has great potential.  I really believe that Windows 8 will give us an advantage, especially with Microsoft bringing out its own tablets.  We haven’t been able to create detailed predictions of the cost benefit of being on Windows 8 because we are in a new market area, but I’m confident it is the best platform for Infantium. 

I’m not a technologist myself, but I know from our development team that the process of working with Windows 8 has been a learning curve, but a positive one.  Our two main developers have many years’ experience in the areas of games and information architecture, so between them, they’ve seen a lot of different technology environments. 

The high usability and visual appeal of the Windows 8 user interface is also important, because that means children will find the games intuitive and fun.  Our games feature all kinds of characters, from our child hero Rufi, his cat Oswald and his wizard friend Somnus, who together visit all kinds of places, from meeting famous painters like Vincent van Gogh, to helping to save Daedalus from the Minotaur.

It is early days for Infantium but we’re really excited to be part of the Windows 8 community right from the beginning.  

For more stories like this, and to find out how Microsoft can help you go from idea to app, visit Microsoft BizSpark. It is a community of over 50,000 startups working closely with Microsoft, which offers free software, support and visibility in the startup ecosystem.