Jim Marggraff has been driven to invent things that connect people ever since he was 5 years old and saw his great-grandmother crying through her window when his family left her Connecticut home after a visit.
“It was the saddest thing I ever experienced,” Marggraff says. “This memory is etched permanently for me.”
Marggraff would go on to create the popular LeapPad tablet educational system that has helped more than 100 million kids learn to read. It’s one of seven companies he has founded or cofounded.
And now Marggraff’s latest invention, a family-friendly artificial intelligence and augmented reality-infused app and video chat solution for the iPhone and iPad known as Kinoo, has taken the $10,000 top prize as winner of the fourth annual AARP Innovation Labs’ Grand Pitch Finale. The labs’ mission is to engage early stage startups and help them identify fresh opportunities and tap into the enormous economy of people age 50 and older.
Marggraff’s Silicon Valley company, also named Kinoo, beat out four other startups Sept. 30 in a Shark Tank-like competition in which members of an online audience viewed the event and chose the winner through an app on their phones.