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Not A Kids Game

Local entrepreneurs in Global Startup Battle: Help Houston get bragging rights

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Tapja is an interactive way for children to tell stories. Tapja

By all accounts, this month's Houston Startup Weekend was a success. Over the course of 54 hours, ideas were developed, friendships flourished and business ventures blossomed. Though many innovative projects took form over the weekend, Tapja won first place.

Now, the Houston-based concept is competing against 47 other projects from around the world for further resources, promotions, bragging rights and other prizes in a Global Startup Battle.

"Tapja is an interactive story-making tablet application for children. It allows children to use a simple drag-and-drop interface to add images, backgrounds, text sounds, and animations onto a blank canvas," team member Hesam Panahi explained to CultureMap via email. "Their parents can then share the stories with anyone online, and we have plans to include the ability to purchase add-on content such as additional sounds, images, etc.

 Now, the Houston-based concept is competing against 47 other projects from around the world. 

"Also, we intend on making it possible to create physical books from the stories — imagine if Grandma could get a copy of the book as a Christmas present that they could keep as a lasting memory of their grandchildren growing up."

Natasa Lekic, who conceived the initial idea, collaborated with Panahi as developer, designer Dave Cebrero and business strategist Nozar Noghani to flesh out an actual product and a business plan. The project's reception at the weekend was overwhelmingly positive, Panahi said — especially for something that was created by a team of four over less than three days.

Winning the Global Startup Battle would help the team to further pursue the project.

The voting ends on Tuesday morning at 1 a.m. Watch the video here, then vote on Facebook or search for "Tapja — Create Interactive Stories" on the Global Startup Battle page.

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