Video sites for children are booming as YouTube and others invest heavily in family fare: “You’re going to see a huge wave of development.”
By Natalie Jarvey
Back in 2013, when Dylan Collins went fundraising for his kid-safe tech startup, SuperAwesome, he was surprised by the lack of interest. “No one really was interested in having a conversation about digital privacy in Silicon Valley,” says the CEO. “We realized that kids were a blind spot for most of the big technology companies.” Ultimately, not a single investor would finance his suite of tools to help childproof the internet.
In the seven years since, kids largely have abandoned legacy media for online entertainment at a rate that the technology industry no longer can ignore. In 2018, for example, children under 18 represented more than 40 percent of all new internet users globally, per PricewaterhouseCoopers, and some experts estimate that soon they will make up half of all people on the web. But with regulators cracking down on sites like YouTube over ads targeting underage users, the need to create protected environments for kids inside the vast (and often seedy) digital world has never been greater.
That’s put companies focused on the kid-safe media space in high demand. Now, London-based SuperAwesome is fielding interest from companies like Microsoft, which made a $17 million strategic investment in January. Meanwhile, Encantos, the media company behind animated bilingual preschool brand Canticos, has raised $2 million in seed funding to expand its focus on multicultural storytelling.
“We hadn’t been planning to raise any capital,” says Collins, revealing that SuperAwesome is on track to hit $100 million in revenue this year. But, he continues, “Having one of the world’s biggest technology companies investing in the kid-tech category, it really does send a signal.”