Build & Imagine
Location: Oakland, California, United States United States
Founded in: 2013
Stage: Alpha (prototype)
Number of employees: 1-5
Funding history:
- Date: 10/2013, Accelerator/Incubator: undisclosed amount (post valuation: undisclosed amount).
Investment Firms: SkyDeck | Berkeley
Short URL:
Followers (2)
Awards and mentions
The Amber Foundation Grants began in 1998, launched in conjunction with the entrepreneurial community for women, WomensNet.Net, to honor the memory of a young woman who died in 1981, at the age of 19. The purpose of the Amber Grants is to help other women achieve the dreams that Amber could not in her short time with us. - See more at:

Build & Imagine is tapping into the hot trend of "girls in STEM" (Science, Tech, Engineering & Math). Laurie is a toy industry rock star - she is passionate, knows her stuff and a Berkeley-Haas MBA to boot. This is one to watch!


Build & Imagine

Igniting girls' imaginations through constructible play-sets.
Oakland, California, United States United States
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Company description


Kids enjoy playing with Build & Imagine StoryWalls


Build & Imagine is a toy start-up developing constructible play-sets to get girls (and boys!) building.

Construction sets are the hottest category in the toy industry. Historically, 90% of these toys have catered to boys’ interests. Girls are really missing out because building toys develop important spatial and design skills that are prerequisites to succeed in science and engineering (STEM). These are fields in which women represent only 24% of the workforce, leading to what President Obama has termed a “gender gap in innovation”. Toys can make a difference.

Build & Imagine’s design principle is simple: construction should facilitate imaginative play. Rather than building with abstract bricks or shapes, you’re designing a scene as rich and beautiful as a storybook. Each Build & Imagine playset is composed of beautifully painted wooden panels, called StoryWalls, and matching wooden dolls. Children can build the StoryWalls into any structural design they choose, and they’ll magnetically snap together. The illustrations on each wall artfully combine to create scenes that act as a launching pad for the child’s imagination.


Sisters build with Build & Imagine play-sets.

Friends build a dollhouse with Build & Imagine StoryWalls.


StoryWalls will be sold in specialty gift and toy stores, and online, in the fall of 2014.


  • Laurie Peterson
    Laurie Peterson | Founder
    Laurie has 15 yrs experience leading the creation and promotion of award-winning consumer electronic products, and is most inspired when her work makes a difference in kids' lives.
Business model

We design and market toys and sell them direct to consumers as well as via resellers.

Key activities are design and marketing, plus partner cultivation & management.

Key partners are our manufacturer and retailers.

Key hires:
- Channel/sales/domestic logistics support
- Director of Sourcing and Manufacturing
- Marketing and design coordinators

Competitive advantage

We have a patent pending to protect the combination of magnetic construction panel will illustrated scenes. We’re also building out the story IP such that it can be copyrighted. The first four dolls are called the 'STEM GIRLS' and are named to spell out 'STEM”'– Skyler, Thea, Emily, Malia. Their interests and storylines map accordingly.

Ultimately success isn’t going to be through legal measures, but by having customers fall in love with our brand.

My favorite example comes from Pleasant Rowland, creator of American Girl dolls. She sold American Girl dolls to Mattel in 1998 for $700 million. How did she do that? By getting families to fall in love with her dolls. Several decades after its rise to popularity, its still a top girl property.

SkyDeck | Berkeley, one of the most innovative and influential accelerator experiences, is dedicated to fostering excellence in entrepreneurship through the development of confident founders. Created as a joint venture among UC Berkeley’s...