The Innovation Project: Matt Stewart & Justin Sabo
Matt Stewart & Justin Sabo and Cofounders of Digital Dream Labs.
(left) Matt Stewart, Cofounder
Justin Sabo, Cofounder
Digital Dream Labs
When Justin Sabo was accepted into Innovation Works’ AlphaLab, he made the bold decision to leave his full-time job as a game designer and pursue the company he cofounded, Digital Dream Labs.
Sabo and Cofounder Matt Stewart started Digital Dream Labs to “make people care about the real world through fun, game-driven experiences,” says Sabo.
The company, which works out of Alloy 26, does so through Puzzlets, a platform on which young students can play video games that help them learn about STEAM subjects – science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
“Think classic arcade games meet chess,” says Sabo. “Kids think it's fun. Teachers and parents really know it's about learning about coding, math, chemistry and beyond at a much younger age.”
To play, parents or teachers must purchase Digital Dream Labs’ custom hardware – available on Amazon and in select Toys “R” Us stores – and can then download the Puzzlets app for free. Today, customers are evenly split between individual parents and school systems, but Sabo expects the company’s sales base to shift more toward schools in the future.
While most people would be hesitant to leave a steady job to pursue a start-up, Sabo’s leap is paying off. Since its launch, Digital Dream Labs has received additional funding from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and has been featured in USA Today Tech, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Mechanics, Good Housekeeping and more.
Sabo says Digital Dreams Labs’ “focus on fun with custom-built hardware for a unique learning environment” sets the company apart.
“Instead of putting education first, by putting fun first, kids will actually opt into the learning,” he says.
It’s also this element of entertainment that Sabo feels has brought the company success.
"Is it fun yet?" he asks. “If not, try something else. Then repeat.”
With this approach in mind, Digital Dream Labs strives to “put out as many great games as possible then offer customers new hardware that offers experiences they can't find anywhere else,” says Sabo.