London-based Yoto snaps £12M: interactive audio speaker aims to reduce screen time for kids
Yoto, based in London, is an audio platform for kids that is known for its critically acclaimed and award-winning Yoto Player. Today, the company announced that it has raised $17 million (nearly £12 million) Series A funding.
Global growth plans
Yoto’s latest investment round was led by Acton Capital along with participation from JamJar Investments, Global Founders Capital, Emerge Education, as well as MPL Ventures. The kidtech startup eyes to use the investment to help facilitate its rapid growth across Europe and North America.
“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. Yoto’s proprietary audio platform puts children in full control of how and when they consume audio content,” said Fritz Oidtmann, Managing Partner at Acton Capital. “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-centred 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.”
“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.”
Back in early 2020, the company launched the 2nd generation Yoto Player, which bagged the TIME magazine’s Inventions of the Year award. 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 the launch of the new Yoto Player, the company has experienced explosive growth, securing partnerships and content deals with trusted household names including 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.
Inspires creative minds
In a bid to offer audio that will inspire the next generation of independent creative minds, Yoto is investing in content that promotes mindfulness, meditation, and sleep among children. Recently, the company launched a series of sleep content cards with Lifescore & Abbey Road Studios. It already leads the industry in audio that inspires children to take creative play into their own hands. The company offers music, audio-based activities, podcasts, radio, and sound effects.
Moreover, the Yoto Player has a ‘Make Your Own’ function enabling users to link to their favourite radio stations or podcasts and record their very own stories.