Inspiring women: Virginie Charles-Dear

The entrepreneur whose kid’s craft box business has raised over $4.6m from the BGF and the founders of Innocent Drinks…

Name:Virginie Charles-Dear
Founded: toucanBox in January 2012 (launched April 2012)
Start-up elevator pitch: Business delivering a ‘treasure trove’ of activities for children to your door
Industry: Arts and crafts
Follow her: @toucanbox

Why is she impressive?

In just four years, Virginie Charles-Dear has built a business loved by children nationwide and, similarly, loved by investors with over $4.6m raised in funding to date. Inspired while watching a children’s TV programme with her daughter who was four at the time, Charles-Dear realised that the ‘everyday objects’ featured on the show were not so every day – ‘Who saves 24 ice lolly sticks?’ With this in mind the former Yahoo! executive created toucanBox, a subscription service delivering a personalised package of activities for children and toddlers every month containing materials and instructions for various DIY projects; think graze meets Art Attack. Backed by the government-funded Business Growth Fund and its founding partner Simon Calver (co-founder of LOVEFiLM), as well as the Innocent Drinks founders, Charles-Dear’s start-up venture is, according to Calver, primed to “become a global phenomenon”.


Action point: Could a loan help you to start a business? See how we may be able to help here and here

Where can I find out more about Virginie Charles-Dear?

toucanBox snags £3.2m BGF backing
Startups 100 2013: toucanBox
Innocent Drinks founders invest in children’s activity start-up

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