Microsoft invests in SuperAwesome’s solution for advertising to kids

28 Jan 2020392 Views

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SuperAwesome CEO Dylan Collins said the company wants to ‘lead the way’ when it comes to managing children’s privacy online.

On Monday (27 January), SuperAwesome announced that Microsoft’s venture fund, M12, has invested in its latest funding round, which raised a total of $17m.

Other investors in the round included Hoxton Ventures, Mayfair, Harbert, Ibis and existing angel investors. To date, the company has raised more than $37m in outside investment.

While the company is based in London, it is led by Irish entrepreneur Dylan Collins, who previously founded Demonware, which was acquired by Activision Blizzard in 2007, and Jolt Online Gaming, which was acquired by GameStop in 2009.

‘We’re in the middle of a structural shift in the composition of the internet that requires investment in privacy and kidtech to support children’
– DYLAN COLLINS

What is SuperAwesome?

Set up in 2013, SuperAwesome is a start-up that set out to build infrastructure that would make the internet safer for children, with a focus on data privacy and protection. It is now used by brands such as Nickelodeon, Nintendo, Kelloggs, Warner Bros, Lego, Mattel and Hasbro.

The company did this after realising that the attention of children was shifting from TV to digital devices. The company said: “Instead of watching a small number of TV channels, kids were now distributed across a vast number of devices, screens, channels, sites and apps. A new paradigm was needed to reach them.”

SuperAwesome wanted to help brands access children, while remaining compliant with new data protection laws, such as GDPR in the EU and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in the US.

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“These kids data privacy laws creating strict new ‘zero-data’ parameters for brands and content owners banned the passive tracking of kids online,” the company added.

As well as providing kid-friendly advertising, SuperAwesome also offers social engagement tools, authentication and parental tools.

What’s next?

Speaking about the recent investment and the future of the company, Collins said: “Last week’s enactment of the Age Appropriate Design Code in the UK is a preview of how the internet will look in five years.

“Laws will not just protect kids’ digital privacy (as with COPPA today), but they will also ensure that any general audience service supports kids as one of their main user types. Making the internet safer for kids is a sector-agnostic mission. As increasing numbers of companies outside of the core kids sector realise that children cannot be ignored, we’ve begun to shift our horizons to the wider internet.”

Collins said that the start-up wants to “lead the way” as major technology companies begin to embrace kids through kidtech. The company said that 40pc of new internet users are children, so there are plenty of opportunities ahead of SuperAwesome.

“We’re in the middle of a structural shift in the composition of the internet that requires investment in privacy and kidtech to support children,” he said. “This is as big a transition as mobile was for the desktop internet.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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