Irish tech entrepreneur raises further $13m for ‘kid tech’ company

Dylan Collins’ SuperAwesome also announces dedicated video-on-demand service

SuperAwesome founder and chief executive Dylan Collins. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

SuperAwesome founder and chief executive Dylan Collins. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

SuperAwesome, the London-based “kid tech” company established by Irish tech entrepreneur Dylan Collins, has raised a further $13 million (€11.5 million) in funding.

The company has said it intends to use the financing to introduce an dedicated children’s video-on-demand service, offering free streaming content to kids.

SuperAwesome is a kid-safe marketing platform that operates as a bridge for brands to reach children aged between six and 16 years-of-age. Founded by Mr Collins in 2012, it operates a number of channels across physical, digital and mobile, including its “Instagram for kids” app, PopJam. Partners include the likes of Lego, Mattel, Hasbro and Nintendo.

The company, which employs about 120 people, reaches more than 500 million unique users each month with hundreds of companies and thousands of apps using its platform to safely engage with children.

Valued at more than $100 million, the company recorded a profit for the first time in 2018, a year in which it saw a 75 per cent per cent rise in turnover as it reached a revenue-run rate of almost $60 million.

The latest funding round was led by Harbert European Growth Capital with other backers including Mayfair Equity Partners and Hoxton Ventures, a $40 million early stage tech-focused VC firm in which Mr Collins is a partner.

The fundraise brings total investment to date to just over $40 million for the company, which is weighing up a market listing,

“The company’s debt offering was significantly oversubscribed, which is a testament to our growth and robust unit economics, said Mr Collins.

“In the light of the continuing controversies around big tech capturing personal data on children, it’s never been more important to have infrastructure which can enable safe, anonymous digital engagement for children online. We are seeing an overwhelming response by responsible companies everywhere for this,” he added.

SuperAwesome, which was ranked as the number one technology growth company in the UK by the Financial Times last year, said it was in a unique position to develop its new ad-based video-on-demand service given its expertise in meeting the safety and privacy needs of children.

It said there is a “huge requirement” for a dedicated platform focused on the needs of family YouTubers and influencers who have very large under-13 audiences but can’t be served by YouTube because of its design as an adult service.

The serial entrepreneur previously co- founded DemonWare, a company that was acquired by the gaming giant Activision Blizzard for $17 million in 2007. Mr Collins was also behind Jolt Online Gaming, which was bought by GameStop, the largest video games retailer in the world, in 2009.