WARNING! RETAILERS REPORT WIDE-SPREAD INFESTATION OF NEW HEXBUG NANO V2 BUGS & AQUABOTS – EXTERMINATORS PANIC, KIDS REJOICE

August 15th, 2013

Innovation First International’s newly-launched, vertical climbing HEXBUG Nano V2 and water-born Aquabot invade retail stores nationwide

Innovation First International (IFI) is excited to announce that its two new HEXBUG® micro robotic product lines, sure to be top toys on every kids wish list this holiday season, are now available at specialty and mass retailers nationwide, including Walmart®, Target®, Toys“R”Us® and RadioShack®, among others. HEXBUG Nano V2 and Aquabot products are designed to unlock kids’ creative potential and reinforce learning through insanely fun, imaginative playtime.

“Innovating tech toys is in our DNA. We’re always pushing the boundaries of our products in order to deliver out-of-the-ordinary, dynamic play experiences, “said Tony Norman, president and chief executive officer of Innovation First International. “With the debut of Nano V2 and Aquabot, our customers can now engage with our toys in ways they only dreamed of before – defying gravity through vertical ascents and plunging into water.”

August also marked the launch of the company’s “They Can Climb” integrated marketing campaign, playing off the hit feature of Nano V2, with a mix of TV advertising across all children’s television networks, a series of consumer generated online and social media contests, as well as an experiential marketing integration event that it hosted at the X Games® X Fest Los Angeles. For more information on the #theycanclimb contests, and to see photos, videos and highlights from past events visit www.nanov2.com. IFI’s comprehensive fall 2013 TV public relations and advertising schedule will also include the Aquabot as well as some of the most popular mechanical HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures.

HEXBUG NANO V2 and AQUABOT at a glance:

  • HEXBUG Nano V2 – The Nano V2 is a brand new breed of gravity-defying HEXBUG Nanos and construction play sets, that will leave kids and parents shouting, “They Can Climb!” in total astonishment. These bugs can now climb up vertically, as high as the Nano V2 tubes are built, to the tip top of any Habitat Set. Kids can build their set up anyway they want, making each build session different, increasing repeat play. In addition to climbing up, Nano V2 bugs can also explore a set by climbing through tubes horizontally, upside down on their backs, around corners and through loops! The quick little critters are also capable of passing another bug in a single tube to avoid a traffic jam!
  • HEXBUG AQUABOT – The Aquabot is the first water-born HEXBUG micro robotic creature with smart fish technology! Powered by electro-magnetic propulsion, this robotic toy swims just like a real fish, diving down and around to explore its environment. The colorful Aquabot offers kids the fun experience of having a pet fish, without all the messy clean-up. The Aquabot is equipped with an automatic on and off sensor that activates when submerged in water, a design element meant to get kids thinking about the science behind the robot. When in water, the colorful HEXBUG Aquabot comes to life swimming around, diving and changing directions to explore its environment. Available in two body styles and ten translucent colors.

About HEXBUG and Innovation First:
HEXBUG® is a product line developed, distributed, and marketed by Innovation First Labs, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of privately held Innovation First International, Inc.  The company was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs.  Innovation First began developing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots and is now an industry leader in research and development for the hobby, competition, education and toy markets.

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HEXBUG jumps onto Vine & Instagram, launches #theycanclimb Video Contest

August 13th, 2013

This summer, we are excited to engage with our HEXBUG fans through some of our favorite social media tools like Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and now Vine (@HEXBUG) and Instagram (@HEXBUGnano)!

Using our new gravity-defying Nano V2 tube-crawling robotic creatures as our inspiration, starting August 5, 2013 we are kicking off the launch of our Vine and Instagram accounts by hosting a #theycanclimb video contest! Vine is a mobile app that lets users create six-second looped videos, and Instagram is a mobile app that lets users create fifteen-second videos – both of which can easily be shared or embedded on your Twitter or Facebook accounts.

To participate, all you need is a Vine and Twitter account or an Instagram and Facebook account, know what a hashtag is, and include #theycanclimb with your entry. Your goal is to capture something that’s inspired by climbing, and incorporate HEXBUGs into the post whenever possible. You can see some of our very own #theycanclimb videos directly on our Instagram and Vine channels.

Every entrant will receive a $5 promo code off their next purchase on www.HEXBUG.com. Limit to one entry per week. To receive your $5 promotional code, simply post your videos to Twitter or Facebook, with the hashtag #theycanclimb, and we will direct message you with the code. We will also be picking a weekly winning #theycanclimb post to feature on our site www.nanov2.com, which we will share on our social media channels. Weekly winners will receive a Nano V2 Black Hole set equivalent to a $50 retail value.

For more information and official rules on the #theycanclimb contest, visit www.nanov2.com/contestrules

1. If you haven’t already, download the Vine and/or Instagram apps (available on iPhone, iPad and  Android mobile devices) and create an account.
2. Follow us on Vine @HEXBUG and on Instagram @HEXBUGnano
3. Create a video that is inspired by climbing, including HEXBUGs when possible, along with the  hashtag #theycanclimb
4. Share your Vine or Instagram videos to Twitter and/or Facebook with the hashtag #theycanclimb  to be eligible

That’s it! You have from 12:00 A.M. CST on August 5 until 11:59:59 P.M. CST on Sunday, September 29, 2013 to post your entries. This contest is open to anyone living in the 50 US states as well as Canada.

HEXBUG HEADED FOR MCDONALD’S GOLDEN ARCHES

February 5th, 2013

IFI and McDonald’s® Partner to Feature HEXBUG Micro Robots in McDonald’s Happy Meal®

Innovation First International, creators of the widely popular HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures brand, today announced a partnership with McDonald’s USA LLC, the nation’s leading foodservice provider, to feature custom HEXBUG toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals at participating restaurants across North America.

The four week HEXBUG Happy Meal program will run from February 22 – through March 21, 2013 while supplies last. Participating McDonald’s restaurants across the United States and Canada will offer customers one of six collectible HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures with the purchase of a Happy Meal:

  • Fast crawling HEXBUG Speed Beetle™ in Green and Red
  • Slow crawling HEXBUG Beetle™ in Black and Orange
  • Bump and go HEXBUG Nano® Pullback Blue and Black

“To be a part of the iconic McDonald’s Happy Meal experience is truly an honor,” said Chris Troyak, president of Innovation First Labs, Inc. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reach millions of new and old fans directly with special, collectible HEXBUG toys that they can only get at McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s will support the partnership with a fully-integrated marketing campaign that includes television advertising, in-restaurant merchandising and custom packaging, coupled with an online web presence. The television advertising campaign will run from February 22 – March 21, 2013.

Designed to foster children’s creativity, develop their fine-motor skills, and fuel hours of imaginative playtime, HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures are innovative, high-tech toys with features and behaviors that enable them to react to their environment. The world-recognized brand is available at retailers nationwide and at hexbug.com.

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IFI PARTNERS WITH RAVENSBURGER FOR HEXBUG® THEMED BOARD GAME

January 29th, 2013


HEXBUG® Creator Inks Deal to Bring Kakerlakak to Retail in Europe this Spring

Innovation First International, masterminds behind the internationally recognized HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures brand, today announced a new licensing partnership with Ravensburger, to introduce Kakerlakak – the world’s first HEXBUG themed board game. Due to crawl onto retail shelves in Europe this Spring, the Kakerlakak game will be on display at the Spielwarenmesse, International Toy Fair Nuremburg, Germany from January 30 – February 4 at Booth A12-D13 in hall 12.0.

“We are excited to add Ravensburger as a HEXBUG licensee for the debut of Kakerlakak, which introduces our innovative vibrating robotic toy to traditional family game play,” said Tony Norman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innovation First International. “Ravensburger’s approach to product development goes hand in hand with our brand philosophy of delivering quality entertainment experiences that can be enjoyed by the entire family.”

Kakerlakak is a fast-paced action game, with a frenetic HEXBUG Nano® mini robot at the center of the action. The interactive Kakerlakak game requires rapid response and hand-to-eye coordination, and challenges children ages five and up to maneuver the skittering bug through the kitchen maze using a variety of kitchen utensils. The ultimate winner is the player with the most chips at the end of the game, which they earn by trapping the bug into their corner.

“We are very pleased to partner with Innovation First, whose wildly popular HEXBUG brand has enabled us to deliver a new and innovative board game that speaks to trends in popular culture and will help expand their growing European fan base,” said Thomas Zumbühl, International Product Manager of Ravensburger.

Ravensburger is Europe’s leading supplier of puzzles, games and craft products and one of the leading publishers of books for children and adolescents in the German-speaking area. The blue triangle is one of the most renowned trademarks in Germany. The programme comprises almost 8,000 different products (including all country-specific editions) that are sold worldwide and 85% of which are produced internally. In 2011 a workforce of 1,640 earned revenues of 319.5 million euros.

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New UK Sales Director for Innovation First International

January 10th, 2013

The following story was written by Lewis Tyler with Toy News on 1/10/2013.

HEXBUG company hires Daniel Richardson.

Maker of miniature vibrating bugs Innovation First has revealed its new UK sales director – Daniel Richardson.

Richardson boasts over 15 years of toy trade experience and previously held sales and managing director positions at Digital Blue and Funrise.

Innovation First’s UK MD Ian Laugher said: “The team is very excited to have Daniel on board. He brings a wealth of knowledge and I know he is looking forward to building on our current product successes.”

Innovation First most recently released the Hexbug brand extension Warriors and is set to show off a raft of new product at Toy Fair.

 

INNOVATION FIRST TAPS U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE CVS CAREMARK (CVS) FOR UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES

January 8th, 2013

Innovation First Makes Good on Promise to Defend Trade Secrets Across Entire Supply Chain

GREENVILLE, Texas – January 4, 2013 –Innovation First International filed a complaint today with the U.S. International Trade Commission, requesting an investigation be instituted against CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) – a pharmacy with over 7,500 stores nationwide, for unfair trade practices. The claim against CVS is related to the “Robo Fish” toy, manufactured by Zuru Toys, Inc., and sold in CVS stores to its consumers. Innovation First contends that the “Robo Fish” toy includes technology developed by the company and its employees that was misappropriated by persons affiliated with Zuru Toys.

“This should come as no surprise to CVS. We warned all major retailers last year of the consequences they would face if they were to import the Robo Fish product,” explained Tony Norman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innovation First International. “Against our advice, this retailer knowingly chose to carry the product line, and will now have to face the legal consequences associated with its actions,” concluded Norman.

Innovation First asserts that the “Robo Fish” product incorporates technology that was stolen by an IFI engineer and shopped for several months to other toy companies.  The engineer ultimately placed “Robo Fish” with Zuru Toys and resigned as head of R&D for Innovation First’s China development team the day of the sale.  Innovation First sued Zuru Toys more than a year ago and remains engaged in litigation with Zuru Toys, despite attempts by Zuru Toys to avoid the U.S. justice system. Major U.S. retailers other than CVS have elected not to carry the offending products. Innovation First plans to release its official version of the Aqua Fish product under the HEXBUG brand this August.

“The toy industry is notorious for encouraging knock-off artists by placing offending products on their retail shelves,” said Norman. “Retailers know the toy industry, but some pretend not to recognize obvious knock-offs or other unfair trade practices.  Those retailers bury their heads in the sand and rely on the hollow promise of indemnification from unscrupulous suppliers – a practice that stifles true innovation.”

International Trade Commission investigations and proceedings focus directly on the wrongful actions of companies, like CVS, that import offending products.  “Unlike a typical toy company, we are broadly diversified and not dependent solely upon toy revenue. Therefore, we won’t hesitate to file suit against retailers, or seek justice through other avenues like the ITC if anyone in the supply chain steals our technology, confidential information or trade secrets,” concluded Norman.

About Innovation First International:

Innovation First International was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs.  Innovation First International’s three main subsidiaries, VEX Robotics, Inc., Innovation First Labs, Inc. (makers of HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures), and RackSolutions, Inc. span the education, consumer and business-to-business markets.

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Guest Blog Post: HEXBUG Warriors – How Do the Battling Robots Stack Up?

November 19th, 2012

Written by Julia, senior editor for BestToysGuide.com

HEXBUG has come out with yet another neat product- Warriors. But they have a lot to live up to.Bobble Bots and the HEXBUG Scarabs are, in my opinion, some of the best toys 2012 has to offer. Will the Warriors be able to stand up to the forces of awesomeness? Let’s find out…

What Are The Warriors?

Each Warrior is a small, high-tech looking creature with its own unique features to aid it in battle. There are 4 in total so far-

  • Caldera
  • Bionika
  • Viridia
  • Tronkon

The Warriors follow in the nano footsteps of their HEXBUG forbearers, moving via nano vibration technology. It basically looks like they’re vibrating so rapidly it’s something that you feel almost more then you see if you touch one while it’s on. To battle each other, they move seemingly at random and will hit each other repeatedly until one of the Warriors health meters is completely depleted. With a regular playset the battles seemed to last about 1 ½ -3 minutes-this can vary though depending on which Warrior you use, and where they are battling.

 

Insect Robots, Just in Time for Halloween

October 30th, 2012

The New York Times Gadgetwise blog featured our HEXBUG Scarab XL and HEXBUG Spider XL Micro Robotic Creatures in this post, just in time for Halloween. Check out the complete post below.

“Remote-controlled cars, trucks and helicopters are common these days. Insects, on the other hand, are relatively new on the scene.

Hexbug Scarab XL and Spider XL ($40 each, from www.hexbug.com) are big brother editions of their tiny button-cell counterparts, with many more features. Powered by AA batteries, the robots come in your choice of colors of translucent plastic, allowing you to see the fascinating gear-driven mechanics of each of the legs, as they work in concert to create forward motion.

Of the two, the spider is the more sophisticated, with a LED eye on a head that turns 360 degrees like a gun turret, allowing it to move in a complete circle. But the faster Scarab can pop from its back to its feet if it is placed upside down.

The remote control, powered by a single nine-volt battery, makes steering easy. It offers three forward moving speeds (slow, medium and fast) and one reverse speed, and two channels, allowing multiple bugs to be operated independently or at the same time. Both are in stores now, in case you want to infest your Halloween decorations.” -By Warren Buckleitner via Gadgetwise.

 

Best Toys Guide Names HEXBUG Warriors as Top Toys for Christmas

October 3rd, 2012

The editors from The Best Toys Guide reviewed our HEXBUG Warriors, and we are proud to announce that they have selected Warriors as a Top Toys for Christmas pick. In their own words, they summarized their feelings on the product line by concluding, “They created a great play experience for kids, and they have multiple dimensions that keep each battle interesting. Battle items have long been popular for kids, but never before have I seen one that that provides such continuous entertainment. It’s not just a simple launch and load item that you fire at opponents, it’s not just an action figure to stage mock battles with, it’s a tiny robotic warrior that seems to have a mind of its own and it will fight to the knockout.”

Check out their website and included below is their video review of HEXBUG Warriors.

A Spectacled Owl – HEXBUG Review and Giveaway

August 14th, 2012

A Spectacled Owl gets acquainted with HEXBUG through a review of the HEXBUG Spider.

A Spectacled Owl HEXBUG Review

“Many times when we have been in the toy aisle at Target, my kids have noticed the HexBug’s.  I honestly had no idea what they were or why they would be considered fun.  However, we (and I say we because I played too!) had the privilege to get one of the HexBug Spiders to review.  You would have thought it was Christmas up in here!  They begged me over & over again to open it and could hardly wait for me to take the pictures I needed for this review (“Mooooom!  Are you done YET?”  “Mooooooom, can we play with it NOW?”)”

Read the full review at: A Spectacled Owl