If you’re a parent or have had any contact with a kid in the last decade or so, you know how intensely they love their screen time. If that child is in the 10-18 age range, you know how much they “need” a phone- how every other kid has one and why won’t you let them have one? It’s a common problem, one that Gabb Wireless founder and CEO Stephen Dalby was facing with his own pre-teen child.
After over a decade of teaching young people, Stephen noticed a transition during those years. At the beginning of his career, he saw kids coming in his classroom chatting, vibrant, and full of excitement and energy, but towards the end of his teaching time he noticed a massive swing. “When I stopped teaching, you almost couldn’t get the kids to talk,” said Stephen. “They come in, they sit down at a desk, they pull their phone out, and they start swiping. It was deathly quiet, and it was tragic.” Around the same time, Stephen’s 12 year old son was, he thought, ready for his first phone, and Stephen went on the hunt.
“I searched for the right phone really intensely for about two weeks,” he said. “I was just really consumed by the search, and I visited carrier after carrier and did online research and just really came up short on what I wanted for my child.” One day Stephen was driving south on Bangerter Highway and had a vision for what he wanted to create for his son and for all the parents and kids who wanted something more.
He created Gabb Wireless, and with that a phone that was safe for kids. With the hardware of a smartphone but an adapted operating system, the phone looks and feels the way kids want it to, without the internet browser or app store. Kept away from the threat of online strangers, pornography, social media, and cyber bullying, kids could still call and text, but keep time to be kids. Stephen proceeded with education, research, and conceptualization, and in 2018 launched a successful Indiegogo campaign. From there the company’s growth has exploded, including a year or 471% growth in 2020.
With that growth, Gabb has been able to raise funding, and on April 21, 2021 they announced a $14 million round of funding. The Series A round was led by Sandlot Partners and New Orleans Saints quarterback, Taysom Hill. “With this capital we’re going to accelerate growth,” says Stephen. “We’re also going to enhance the quality of our products and our customer experience.”
Gabb takes ownership over every single customer and wants them to have the best experience possible. Average wait times for help is less than 60 seconds, and with their own in-house customer support division, they’re sure to take care of things quickly and efficiently.
The combination of Gabb, Sandlot Partners, and Taysom Hill is comfortable and cohesive. In their official press release, Taysom said, “As an investor, Gabb checked all the boxes with its impressive growth, founding team and total addressable market. But so much more than that for me is the emotional side of the investment. I love the idea that we can help build something to help save kids in an area that has so much need and demand. My wife Emily and I try to be pretty selective of who we tie our brand to, and when considering the chance to invest and partner with Gabb, it was a no-brainer for us and something that we are extremely excited about.”
Gabb will continue to grow in its Lehi headquarters and work towards products kids and parents can agree on. One of Gabb's messages is to "Live outside the screen". Stop fighting with your kids about screen time, worrying about what they're doing on social media, and stressing about their exposure to people that don't have their best interests in mind. It's time to stand up and claim their childhood back. It's time to get Gabb.