As children spend more of their time in the digital world, companies that can shield them from inappropriate content are seeing rapid growth, and catching the attention of tech giants.
SuperAwesome, which lets youngsters navigate controlled social environments online and reaps the rewards in ad spend, has won £12.9 million investment from Microsoft’s M12 venture fund.
The London firm is a leader in what is known as the ‘kidtech’ or ‘digital child safety’ market, and provides companies like LEGO, Hasbro and Mattel with software platforms that ensure their online content is compliant with an ever evolving set of regulations.
170,000 children go online for the first time every day, according to a recent report from PwC, and are exposed to enormous amounts of potentially harmful data. In a rush to protect them, authorities worldwide are rolling out legislation – GDPR in Europe, and COPPA in the US – prohibiting certain types of advertising, and handing out hefty fines to those who fail to comply. Just last week, the UK set out a new Age Appropriate Design Code for online services.
These regulations, along with the increasing digital advertising budget of children’s brands, are leading to the emergence of child safety startups like SuperAwesome that cater to the growing demand for a safe space for children to surf.
“It is great to see a UK company leading the market in a space that requires technology solutions that can match the rapid growth in online consumption,” says Acuity Partner Richard Baker. “We continue to see significant activity and traction in the wider safeguarding space – driven by both society’s needs and clear market demand.”
Along with Microsoft, other tech giants are also moving in on the ‘kidtech’ space as a way of gaining familiarity with the next generation of internet users. Google has recently added a separate website for its YouTube Kids platform, and Amazon offers its own walled garden environment for children through its Prime service.