Presto, Tibetan Bowls, & Dr. Seuss: How Michel Kripalani Got His Entrepreneurial Karma Back

Some tales of technology innovation have an ethereal quality to them, and such is the case with Oceanhouse Media—or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that such is the case with Michel Kripalani, the startup software developer’s founder and president.

Encinitas, CA-based Oceanhouse was founded in January, 2009, and its first product was an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch called simply “Bowls,” which features seven Tibetan “singing” bowls. Each one generates a different meditative harmonic tone when a user runs their fingertip around the edge of a virtual bowl on the display screen. Tapping the bowls, along with the virtual gongs, bells, and “tingsha” cymbals adds even more to the musical dharmony (so to speak).

Bowls app

Bowls app

Kripalani tells me that a few weeks after Oceanhouse launched Bowls (in March, 2009), the $1.99 app was selected by Apple as a “staff favorite” and featured on the home page of the online Apple store. Their sales spiked.

“When we started, the Apple iPhone had 10,000 apps and I was concerned that we had already missed the boat,” Kripalani says. With Bowls, though, he saw it would be OK. “More than the revenue, it gave us a glimmer of what could happen. We saw the potential.”

After Oceanhouse’s modest success with Bowls, Kripalani persuaded Louise Hay, the self-help author and founder of Carlsbad, CA-based Hay House Publishers, to license some content from her company’s catalog of inspirational books and related material for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. With a bit of karma, Kripalani says he also managed to secure a licensing agreement with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which is based in La Jolla, for the entire catalog of 44 Dr. Seuss childrens’ books.

“Oceanhouse Media wasn’t the first company to bring childrens’ books to the iPhone,” Kripalani says. “But we were the first to bring … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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