SM chats to… Jason Krogh, CEO of Sago Sago

Sago Sago is the little sibling of Swedish App company Toca Boca and they make beautiful, creative, gender neutral apps for preschoolers.

One of our Dad testers gave these a go – with his three year old son – and was blown away by the graphics, the ‘free play’ element and just how engaging they were. His son’s verdict: ‘Awesome!’

We had a chat with Toronto based CEO Jason Krogh…

SM: How did Sago Sago come about?

Jason Krogh: The idea came about over lunch with Bjorn Jeffery, the CEO of Toca Boca. At the time I was running my old company, zinc Roe, where we worked on a wide range of interactive media projects for kids – everything from kiosks to websites and apps. Our real passion project, a set of apps we created just for toddlers, was getting great feedback. But we needed an investment to turn that passion into a viable business. Simultaneously, Toca Boca had found amazing success with their apps and as we spoke it was clear we shared the same design philosophy. We founded Sago Sago as a sister studio to Toca Boca’s team. The partnership just made a lot of sense to everyone.

SM: As a parent yourself, do you feel it is important to create apps responsibly?

Jason Krogh: Of course. We are driven to make the apps we want for our own children. It’s no small thing to ask parents to put one of our apps in the hands of their preschooler. We’ve built up a really dedicated following because we’ve proven to parents that we take this responsibility seriously.

SM: Do you limit the amount of time your own children spend on their iPad?

Jason Krogh: Yes. We curate the apps that our daughter plays, just as we do for TV shows and books. People make the assumption that, because I make kids apps, my daughter plays them all the time. The iPad is normally a thing for weekend mornings, when we’re travelling or waiting at the dentist or doctor. It’s five minutes here, 10 minutes there, and that’s how it works best.

SM: Your apps are gender neutral; are you finding they are just as appealing to boys and girls?

Jason Krogh: Yes. We test our apps with a mix of boys and girls and it’s important that they appeal to both. There are a lot of subtle (and not so subtle) ways that toys exclude one gender or another. We have proven that you can have a super-successful children’s app without targeting just one gender.

SM: You’re obviously a tech whizz, but are you happy with the level of technology taught in schools? Should coding replace learning a language perhaps?

Jason Krogh: I think there is a lot of room for improvement in using technology in schools. For one thing, I don’t think it should be treated as a dedicated subject. They are tools that help us learn and work. As for learning to program – it’s a key skill and all kids should have exposure to it. I also think this would go a long way toward addressing the massive gender gap in programming professions.

SM: Did you celebrate when you hit the 5 million download mark?

Jason Krogh: Can you believe that we are already at 6 million downloads! We celebrate all our wins, big and small, but we are still very humble about our success. The biggest reward for us really is knowing that children all over the world are enjoying our apps.

SagoSago’s latest app Sago Mini Toolbox is now available on the App Store.