MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A South Florida entrepreneur has teamed up with an engineer to bring families together with a 21st Century approach.
In the volatile tech startup world, Max Tuchman is a bonafide contender.
A native Miamian, graduate of Palmetto Senior High, she holds an M.B.A. from Harvard and was appointed White House Fellow during the Obama Administration.
In 2016 she and Alvaro Sabido co-founded Caribu.
“Caribu is an interactive video-calling platform that lets you read and draw with kids or grandkids, no matter where you are in the world. It’s a shared screen super interactive reading and drawing platform that makes you feel like you are there when you can’t be,” says Tuchman.
Think of it like facetime meets Kindle.
Ideal customers are what max calls “glammas” glamourous grandmas, as well as travelling parents and any family looking to interact with young kids they are away from. Military families are both at the heart and start of this platform.
“We saw a picture of a soldier trying to read to his daughter with a webcam and the picture breaks your heart. My cofounder is an engineer he said ‘this is ridiculous at this day and age we should have something better’, and he built Caribu.”
The engaging experience in seven languages lets users share a story, play games and draw. It’s a great fit for today’s plugged-in kids.
“Kids hate video calls. If you’ve ever done a video call with a child you know they get bored they feel they are in the middle of the Spanish inquisition,” says Tuchman. “There are too many questions that they don’t know how to answer.”
For military families, Caribu is free, through a partnership with nonprofit Blue Star Families. It’s a perfect fit for parents like Jessica and Nate Tabbert who have four kids, where moving and long distance parenting comes with the territory.
“I was stationed in German, Hawaii, Colorado, Texas, South Carolina, Arizona and now South Florida,” Jessica Tabbert said. “ Sometimes it was incredibly stressful, my husband and I were active duty at the same time, and there was a period where he was gone for a year in Korea and I was running a shop on what we call the ‘watch floor’. Having something interactive like Caribu encourages conversation in a way no other way that I’ve found as a parent can do.”
For their youngest, Elaina, it was spot on.
“It was good. Caribu lets you get to read a book or draw and learn things,” Elena said.
Tuchman has amassed impressive seed money, won many pitch competitions and gone from startup to scale up. Her background in education as a former teacher at Miami Northwestern High and as Executive Director of Teach for America translates to Caribu’s mission.
“It is so important that we have quality content. We have incredibly curated stories and books we only work with publishers where we truly believe that the story is engaging and educational,” Tuchman said.
While Max is living her dream, she shares that the reality of being a Latina woman in the tech world is hard, but not impossible.
“Jump in chancletas first! If you have an idea and if you are on fire about it, and you are passionate about it, nothing can stop you. Just go do it, take the opportunity and don’t look back,” she said.
For more information on Caribu and their support of military families, visit their website here.