Yoto closes $17M in Series A investment to expand across Europe & North America
London/Munich, May 11, 2021 – Yoto, the award-winning audio platform for kids, has raised $17 million in a Series A funding to help facilitate its rapid growth across Europe and North America. The investment was led by Acton Capital with participation from JamJar Investments, Global Founders Capital, Emerge Education, as well as MPL Ventures.
The investment closed in January and followed the hugely successful launch in early 2020 of the 2nd generation Yoto Player, subsequently awarded one of TIME magazine’s Inventions of the Year. Yoto Player is inspired by Montessori principles and is designed to safely give children full control over their listening with access to entertaining audio, which encourages learning and imaginative play. Yoto Player is controlled using physical cards that are inserted into the Player which then play the audio content.
Since launching the new Yoto Player in early 2020, Yoto has experienced explosive growth, securing partnerships and content deals with trusted household names such as LEGO and Disney as well as licenses with Penguin Random House, Sony Music, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan and more. Yoto’s extensive and ever-expanding content library is packed with some of the world’s greatest children’s content including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Gruffalo, The Snowman, and Planet Omar with LEGO Duplo, Frozen, Finding Nemo and many more household names to be released in the coming months.
“In times where kids are growing-up on screens, one of the most important skills they need is to be able to use technology consciously and with balance,” said Fritz Oidtmann, Managing Partner at Acton Capital.
“Yoto’s proprietary audio platform puts children in full control of how and when they consume audio content.”
“What further convinced us to invest was Yoto’s unique approach to combining native content with carefully curated partnerships. We are very happy to support the team’s vision to make Yoto’s high-quality, kid-centered content available worldwide.”
“As a dad of three, I know from first-hand experience what a lifesaver Yoto is – it fires up your kids’ imagination and creativity, so they play independently and safely,” said Richard Reed, JamJar Investments and Innocent Drinks Co-Founder. “As an investor, Yoto is everything you could be looking for – a new entertainment format for kids that has limitless potential, loved by its buyers and adored by its users, led by a whip smart, mission-focused team.”
In an effort to offer audio that will inspire the next generation of independent creative minds, Yoto is also investing in content that promotes mindfulness, meditation and sleep. Most recently, Yoto launched a series of sleep content cards with Lifescore & Abbey Road Studios.
Leading the industry in audio that inspires children to take creative play into their own hands, Yoto also offers music, audio-based activities, podcasts, radio and sound effects. In addition, the Yoto Player has a ‘Make Your Own’ function enabling users to link to their favorite radio stations or podcasts and record their very own stories.
“We designed Yoto around our own kids and we’ve seen how amazing it is to give kids control of their own listening. I’ve seen how this really does help with creativity and imagination compared to screen-time and the research backs that up,” said Ben Drury, CEO and co-founder of Yoto. “I’m thrilled with how far we’ve come and the amount of families we’re getting amazing feedback from, and this new investment from some of the best funds in the UK and Europe that share our vision allows us to continue to fuel the curiosity of this generation of young learners through audio.”
Yoto is an audio platform that introduces children to a world of stories, music, educational activities, sound effects, podcasts and radio. Founders Ben Drury and Filip Denker were inspired by Montessori principles to create a screen-free audio device that kids could safely control themselves; they called it Yoto Player.
After the first-generation Yoto Player sold out in August 2019, the founders raised funds to develop the new Yoto Player with globally-renowned design agency, Pentagram. Yoto’s platform features original content alongside audio licensed and co-created with partners including LEGO, Disney/Pixar, PRH, Macmillan, Sony, Roald Dahl Story Company, Harper Collins, Hachette, Bonnier and Scholastic.
Now available worldwide, Yoto has been shortlisted for a number of awards including Design Week, ISDA IDEA, Core 77, Fast Co., D&AD, Dezeen, Junior Design, and Mother & Baby while being included in a number of Top Product lists. In November 2020, Yoto Player was named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2020.