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Fact 1

This is a great company.

It was confirmed by many people and the collaboration on many levels was extreamly succeesful.

Fact 3

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Numbers are high


We chatted to Sanghyo Kim - Chief Technology Officer, responsible for products, technology and service and Sten Kirkbak, the founder and CEO of the company.

What is your solution?

Sten: We want to safely onboard kids to the digital world by providing them with a smart watch with appropriate functionality. We’re addressing two key pain points: one, that parents would like something where they can call and reach kids, but most parents don’t think it’s appropriate for children under ten to have their own smartphones. Secondly, most parents would like their kids to spend less time in front of screens and more time being active. We took all of the benefits of a smartphone but removed internet and social media access and changed the format to a watch, so it’s connected to you. The watch can be used as a phone, contains a way for parents to locate their kids, and uses a step counter to gamify being more active, so kids are more incentivised to move around more.  

What was your vision for this watch?

Sten: I’m a father of four boys, and when my youngest was 4 years old, I managed to lose him in a shopping centre for 20 minutes — this was the worst moment of my life. Given my tech background, I started to wonder: why are fridges and cars connected, but kids aren’t — unless you give them a smartphone, which feels inappropriate for a very young child. At the moment, kids aged six to seven years old spend an average of six hours a day in front of screens if you look at the cumulative time they spend in front of the television, tablets, screens at school, computers borrowed from parents. That’s way too much! We wanted to revolutionize this space and develop something for kids that would use tech to incentivize more activity and less screen time.

What was your motivation for collaborating with hubraum? 

Sten: hubraum reached out to us about applying for their innovation program — this was at a time when we were considering how best to stay ahead of the competition. We had already been thinking about using e-SIM, because when we first started making smart watches, we used a nano SIM card and it took up a lot of space — e-SIM would enable us to make smaller watches. As a company, we wanted to continue to innovate, but as a startup that comes with a huge cost. When we had this opportunity to innovate within hubraum within their e-SIM IoT category, that seemed like an intuitively good fit.

How did you collaborate with hubraum and Deutsche Telekom?

Sanghyo: After applying to hubraum’s innovation program, we were accepted and we were one of four or five companies in the e-SIM IoT category that won the opportunity to be developed further by Deutsche Telekom.

Sten: What we received was something unique: a clear commitment. Normally, when you enrol on a programme, you’re asked to develop a prototype but are left with no guarantees about what happens next. Deutsche Telekom told us if we successfully created a working prototype, they would help us take it to the market. They also gave us R&D funding (approximately 140,000 euros) and we were able to use hubraum’s competence and network and Deutsche Telekom’s infrastructure to develop and test our solution. 

What did Xplora achieve in this collaboration?

Sten: Once we reached an agreement with Deutsche Telekom that they would launch our product in the German market, that also helped us access significant horizon 2020 funds at our end — we were granted 3 million euros in production support. Sales accelerated in Germany, and we had a proof of concept — that we weren’t just successful in our home market of Norway but that we could also be successful in a huge market like Germany. That accelerated excitement about the company so that we could take the company public and do an IPO in November 2020. That’s something most startups aspire to. 



We also reached out to Oliver Naumann for comment — he works in Business Development & Partner Manager Group Partnering and Devices at Deutsche Telekom.


How was the collaboration with Xplora — what set this collaboration apart from others you've worked on?

Normally we work with large, established vendors and manufacturers who have already established distribution, after sales and quality assurance processes with Deutsche Telekom. With Xplora, we had to start from scratch, which took a lot of hard work and patience on both sides. Overall, it was challenging, but thankfully our collaboration was built on transparency and trust. We learned a lot from each other.

How was the startup helpful for Deutsche Telekom or hubraum? What benefit did the startup bring to us as a company?

After working with Xplora over the past few years, we've successfully established the children’s watch as a new and distinct product category, with annual sales of roughly 80,000 units in Germany. This is due to our initial launch of the first kids' watch, our onboarding additional suppliers and the introduction of the first eSIM-enabled kids' watch. Before we introduced Xplora to our customers, we already had children’s watches from other big manufacturers in the portfolio. For the big manufacturers, it was always just a side business with no real dedication to the target group, whereas Xplora is truly passionate about delivering a product that brings joy to children and peace of mind to their parents. The combination of innovation (first children's watch with eSIM) with Xplora’s focus on the youth segment were key for our mutual success.