U.K.-based startup SuperAwesome has raised $7 million in a new round of funding for its AwesomeAds, a digital advertising platform that the company says can safely target kids without running afoul of privacy regulations.
The funding is a sign that the growing digital kids market is a big opportunity, with industry estimates saying the market could grow to $2 billion by 2018. But there’s always some risk when targeting kids over an Internet-connected platform.
The London company recently unveiled its mobile ad server that it says is compliant with the U.S. law protecting kids, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). It is also compliant with upcoming European legislation. The ad server can be used by developers and publishers of kids’ apps to run safe ads from SuperAwesome’s kid brand partners. It curates ads so that they’re kid-appropriate, and they’re shown to kids using kid-focused apps. This helps brands reach their targets, and it generates ad revenue for the developers.
Regulators have frowned on using aggressive tactics for in-app purchasing — the way that most modern apps monetize — with children. But SuperAwesome said its technology ensures that kids are not tracked, and it guarantees that all content included in digital ads is child appropriate.
SuperAwesome said that, with the first version of AwesomeAds, it can already reach 250 million kids a month across the desktop web, mobile, and online video. That is because it has relationships with hundreds of the largest kid brands, including Lego, Hasbro, and Warner Bros. It has also signed up many kid app developers.
The company said it will use the money to expand internationally. Investors include Ibis TMT, Twenty Ten Capital, Sandbox and Co., and existing investors.
SuperAwesome was founded in January 2013, and it has a few dozen employees. Rivals include Disney and Turner, but those companies focus on advertising only their own properties. SuperAwesome’s earlier investors include angels such as Paul Kenny and James Fairclough and Inspire Ventures.
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