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What is the Toy Pioneers Club?

The Toy Pioneers Club is an online community site for the world’s most forward thinking toy startups, driven by founders that want to make a difference. We select startups from around the world building game-changing products and help them to grow through a world-class support network.

Who is behind the Toy Pioneers Club?

The Toy Pioneers Club was setup by Ben Callicott. He has over 10 years experience working in toys. Firstly as a toy designer for Mothercare, and most recently as Head of Product of Primo Toys, where he helped launched Cubetto the $1.6M coding robot on Kickstarter. With a short stint contracting for the invention house Seven Town, and launching his own toy startup PL-UG sandwiched in-between. He has been fortunate to experience nearly all sides of the toy industry.

Why launch the Toy Pioneers Club?

“In short after 10 years in toys I became disillusioned with the mass plastic, me-too product that haunts the industry. I didn’t know where to go to connect with like minded people so I started a club.” – Ben Callicott

What is your definition of a toy?

Some startups don’t necessarily want to be associated as a ‘toy’. The Toy Pioneers Club wants to change this. In short we consider a toy to be a learning tool so whether you consider yourself more edTech, sustainable, or simply trying to push social change don’t let the term toy put you off applying. In fact probably the more non-toy you consider yourself the better.

Is the Toy Pioneers Club an incubator or accelerator?

No, the Toy Pioneers Club is a community gathering startups at different stages. Unlike accelerators or incubator programs the Toy Pioneers Club does not offer any planned programming or workspace to its members. Most of our benefits and activities can be accessed online or through the community Slack, we have continuous rolling admission and we take no equity or membership fee to join.

What is the ambition of the Toy Pioneers Club?

The current ambition is for the Toy Pioneers Club to be the go-to for future thinking in the toy space by curating only the highest quality startups. The club will then look to partner with those that can help turn startups to scale-ups be that retailers, manufacturers or investors and bridge the connection.

What do startups get by becoming a member of the Toy Pioneers Club?

By becoming a member of the Toy Pioneers Club, startups gain access to the most exclusive network of toy entrepreneurs. A private network of founders/founding members, plus access to expert webinar sessions opening the doors for members looking to grow.

What does joining the Toy Pioneers Club cost?

Membership to the Toy Pioneers Cub is entirely free. We have no equity requirement or membership fees.

How do I join the Toy Pioneers Club?

To be considered for membership, the first step is to complete our online application form.

What’s the application process like?

We evaluate every startup application to ensure they will be a good fit for our community. We make an effort to respond to every application within one week, so please be patient. 

How it works: We review all online application. Upon review, if we think you would be a great fit we will reach out to discuss next steps. This normally means a Skype call. If we are not interested in moving you forward, we will let you know via email.

What criteria do you look for in startups?

Your company needs to be kid focussed. This means your company is physically producing (manufacturing) a product with a child/child and parent as the intended user. We only invite startups that we believe will disrupt the current status quo within the toy industry that is unique and has purpose.

What’s the best stage to apply?

We look for startups from idea to launch, a good rule of thumb is if you are older than 3yrs post launch then you may not get the necessary value from the club.

I’m an inventor, can I still apply?

If you are at an early stage and have not decided whether to pursue building a business or licencing an invention then please feel free to apply. However if you know you want to license your idea then the club will not be right for you. There are some great organisations that support inventors including ChiTAG and Mojo Nation.

Do you accept competitive companies?

To ensure all members feel comfortable sharing expertise and network with the rest of the community we aim not to. Although it is a grey area, and you could argue that everyone is a competitor when sharing the same target audience. At the Toy Pioneers Club we believe that as niche players within the industry everyone wins if members support each other.

If I’m accepted, what is the onboarding process like?

Once you’ve been accepted into the Toy Pioneers Club, you and your team will be invited via email to join our community Slack. We will also encourage you to join a members call to introduce yourself and startup to the community.

Upon receiving your invite, you will have 10 days to join our community. Failure to do so may result in a revoking of your invitation to join.

What is the price of membership?

Membership to the Toy Pioneers Cub is entirely free. We have no equity requirement or membership fees.

Is it really free? What do you expect from members?

Yes, the Toy Pioneers Club is entirely free of charge.

While there is no financial cost to joining, we do require each member to fully and actively participate in the community on a monthly basis. Without active* members, there is no value to the community. We only onboard companies who are committed to being apart of our vision and are excited to join in our community. Failure to be active could result in removal from the club (sorry).

*Activity includes regularly participating on our community Slack, via email with our internal team, or by joining our online sessions.

Does membership last forever?

Yes, we just ask that you remain active. If your startup is inactive for more than 90 days, your company may be removed from our community.

I still have unanswered questions, who can I contact?

No problem, you can send any further questions to

Join the club.