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Winning a Mira Award Helped Usher in the ‘Year of the Duck’

March 3, 2016

Who knew a rubber ducky and a Mira Award could do so much?

Since winning a coveted TechPoint Mira Award last year, Edwin the Duck — a learning toy with personality designed to be a child’s best friend — has taken off in a big way.


Mira Winner

IMPACTWinning a Mira Award opened doors for pi lab and Edwin the Duck.

Edwin the Duck sold out of each Apple test market where he was available last year before hitting the shelves of every Apple location in North America, more than 800 Best Buy stores and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Edwin will ‘float onto shelves’ at Target and Toys-R-Us stores nationwide soon, too.

Matt MacBeth, CEO and cofounder of pi lab, credits a large chunk of Edwin’s fast marketing success to winning the Mira Award.

“Because it’s difficult to take a rubber duck seriously, the prestigious Mira Award legitimized Edwin’s place in the tech community, gaining him connections with key partners such as BLASTmedia, Elevate Ventures, and DeveloperTown; exposure in local media; and leverage with savvy investors.”

Don Inmon (left) and Mat MacBeth (right) accept the Mira Award from previous winner Peter Servaas of DoubleMap and sponsor Greg Rexing.
Don Inmon (left) and Mat MacBeth (right) of pi lab accept the Mira Award from previous winner Peter Servaas of DoubleMap and sponsor Greg Rexing.

We asked Matt about Edwin’s progress since winning the Mira Award and what’s next for pi lab and Edwin the Duck. Included below are some of his responses.


How did winning a Mira Award impact your business?

pi lab has grown in every way since winning the Mira Award last year. The Mira Awards were kind of the first introduction of Edwin to the local tech community and it turned into the year of the duck!

Team Edwin has grown from three to nine people and then some other contract help on top of that, and Edwin has made a splash across national media with features in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, IGN, Mashable, Forbes, Yahoo! Tech, TechCrunch and more.

We leveraged the Mira Award from TechPoint with enough momentum to also win the 2015 Innovation Showcase, and closed out a seed funding round lead by Elevate Ventures. pi lab has evolved from being the inventors of an educational toy, to an entertainment company with an extraordinary vision.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

The biggest lesson we’ve learned is that all the resources we needed were found right here in Indiana. These amazing local connections were enough to launch our company and product, providing a cost-effective means that has facilitated us to rapidly become a leader in this growing category of entertainment companies.

pi lab has been successful with staying focused and running a lean business model with maximum support. The connectivity and support of the tech community has been tremendous. A rising tide raises all ships, and in this case, floated a duck.

What is the next step for your company?

Edwin has big plans. pi lab is expanding into international markets, adding multilingual content, and hiring more people. Edwin will be introducing his playmates and friends, so we are working on character development and ongoing content for our apps.

Edwin will have his own TV show, a movie, and the expansion of the entertainment side of pi lab will soon be evident. Live, interactive concerts — also huge licensing deals for other brands to use our technology in their products — saving them years of R&D and tens of millions in development costs.

“If anyone deserves the title of ‘surprise star’ at this year’s CES, it’s this little guy from pi lab.” – TechTimes

What hopes do you have for the future?

We believe that Indiana will be known for their tech innovation and will not be overlooked, but lead the industry as a true competitor with the coasts. For Matt MacBeth, pi lab is his fifth tech startup and first in the Indiana tech community.

While each community has its advantages, here in Indiana Matt found lower costs for a startup in Indiana. We are now also mentoring entrepreneurs, working with IU DIVE MBA students, and partnering up with other educational institutions to share our experiences and lessons learned with the rest of the community.

What advice do you have for this year’s Mira Award winners?

Go for it! Take risks, network heavily within the state, attend as many events as you can, and get to know others and their stories. Learn from these people and their experiences and allow your passion to drive you.