Startups

Hispanic Heritage Month: Storybook makes bedtime fun with the help of Google Cloud

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September 15th to October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month—a time to celebrate Latino community, history, and culture. In the coming weeks, we’ll highlight Latino-led startups and how they use Google Cloud to grow their businesses. This blog, written by Storybook cofounder and CEO Francisco Cornejo, describes how his innovative mobile app is taking the stress out of bedtime for millions of children and parents.  

For many parents of young children, bedtime is a stressful time of the day. Some kids want to stay awake and play, while others are overtired and can’t easily fall asleep. Without a good night’s sleep, most children find it hard to concentrate at school, socialize with friends, and positively interact with parents and siblings. 

My wife Daniela Vega and I launched the Storybook mobile app to help other families create a relaxing bedtime routine so children—and their parents—can sleep well and thrive. Storybook combines favorite bedtime stories with massage and reflexology techniques that calm children, improve sleep quality, and strengthen child-parent bonds. The 100+ stories on the app, all authored by Daniela, get more complex as the children age, but all contain messages and lessons such as respecting others, overcoming obstacles and understanding differences.

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Storybook founders Francisco Cornejo and Daniela Vega

As Storybook continues to grow, we’ll add more stories and songs to our library and support additional languages beyond English, Spanish, and Portuguese. We’ll also introduce new features that further simplify bedtime routines while making evenings calmer and more enjoyable for children and parents.

Scaling Storybook and streamlining development

Although Storybook was initially developed on a legacy technology stack, we quickly realized we needed a scalable cloud-based solution to deliver a more reliable user experience. We also knew it would be challenging for our small engineering team to roll out new features and capabilities without streamlining the app development process.

We looked at the options and identified Google Cloud, including the Google for Startups Cloud Program, as the best choice to help us cost-effectively scale Storybook. Since migrating to the secure-by-design infrastructure of Google Cloud, we’ve significantly reduced IT expenses, shifted more resources to R&D, and accelerated the launch of new features.

Specifically, we use Flutter to efficiently build, test, and deploy new versions of Storybook across multiple platforms with a single codebase. In addition, we rely on Firebase to develop new features and capabilities, monitor app performance, and increase our install-subscriber conversion rate up to 3X with integrated A/B testing. 

We also leverage Data Studio to quickly create interactive reports and dashboards, while tracking website visits, Google Play downloads, and Google Ad click-through rates with Google Analytics. All these solutions seamlessly integrate with BigQuery, which we use for data warehousing, real-time data streaming, and running analytics at scale. By tapping into the wider Google ecosystem of products and their integrations together, we can truly maximize the impact they have on our business and make the most out of our partnership with Google.

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Helping families take the stress out of bedtime 

The Google for Startups Cloud Program helped us transform Storybook into a highly rated mobile app with millions of subscribers. Joining the program gave us immediate access to Google Cloud credits which we used to cost-effectively trial and deploy key Google Cloud solutions. It also enabled us to uplevel critical engineering skills with technical training, deep dives, and one-to-one guidance provided by dedicated Google experts and mentors.

Partnering with Google for Startups opened the door for us to participate in additional Google-backed programs and accelerators, including IMPAQTO Labs and Endeavor. We were also one of the first recipients of the Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund, which provided us with $100K in non-dilutive funding as well as hands-on support and additional Google Cloud credits to serve new customers and markets. Our long-term goal is to help 300 million families worldwide take the stress out of bedtime and evolve the Storybook platform into a true online community and e-learning space. 

Our success with Storybook and networking with other Latino business leaders highlights the importance of engaging with others for guidance and to regularly share ideas. By leveraging the knowledge and experience of others, we avoided major mistakes and brought our ideas to market faster. I encourage other Latino founders to learn more about Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund here and get involved with other organizations such as EmprendeLatino, Visible Hands, and Techqueria.

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As we grow our team, we’ll continue to work closely with Google for Startups to develop additional Storybook features and support more languages. We’ll also expand the Storybook library, introduce new massage and reflexology techniques, and broaden our partnership program. We’re excited to see what Storybook and other startups accomplish next, and are thankful that we get to work with Google as they continue to expand their support for underrepresented founders.

If you want to learn more about how Google Cloud can help your startup, visit our page here to get more information about our program, and sign up for our communications to get a look at our community activities, digital events, special offers, and more.