Gauri Nanda is one of those bright, beautiful and wildly creative people you can’t help but crush on. She studied at the University of Michigan and the MIT Media Lab, and previously worked for Apple Computer. Early product inventions include the quirky Clocky, an alarm clock that tears around the room, refusing to snooze unless you can catch it, but by then, you’re up and at ’em. Smart, useful, and fun.
Her latest invention meets all the same criteria. Toymail, a line of animal-mailbox-characters that deliver voicemail to children. The adorable animal-inspired guys have names like “Bushwick,” “Milksop,” and “Rochester.” To send your child a message, record it on the Toymail app, and the toy will play the message in either your voice or a funny voice of your choosing. They can press a record button to send a return message, which you’ll get a notification about. Think of it like email for the pre-email set.
Toymail is pioneering the “Internet of Things” for toys so that a toy can change and evolve, with the capacity to actually do something new every few months. Just like children themselves. Here’s what she told us about her daily digital habits:
Favorite shopping site?
Lately, Etsy for custom made furniture.
Apps you insist other people try?
What vintage technology do you miss from when you were younger?
The mixtape. And, I probably have a lot of files on floppy disks and mini discs that I’ll never get off. Also, the experience of a View-Master.
You unplug by…?
Long distance hiking. Currently planning a trip to do the Tour Du Mont Blanc (in France, Italy and Switzerland).
Gadget/tech that you always travel with, and why?
My Tile so that I don’t lose my keys.
Biggest tech disaster?
When we first launched, we underestimated traffic and our server crashed our app!
Your office has the vibe of…?
Startup transitioning to funded startup so everything feels like it’s on overdrive.