Tel Aviv-based KIDO'Z began its life as a kid-friendly media browser for PCs before shifting over to mobile and tablet platforms where there's now more need for kid-safe, but still entertaining, content. Today, the company is announcing a $1.2 million Series A round, led by lool ventures, with participation from angel investors including Dov Moran, Aryeh Mergi and others. To date, the company has raised $1.5 million in outside funding.
The software, for those unfamiliar, arrived on Android last fall, allowing parents to lock down smartphones and tablets so kids could only play pre-approved mobile applications and visit a whitelist of acceptable websites. There's also a directory of kid-friendly apps to choose from, so kids can seek out and download additional content. Because it integrates deeply with the operating system in order to work well, KIDO'Z has not yet built an app for iOS.
The software is similar to that from a few other companies in the same space, including Famigo, which raised $1 million for its efforts last March, Y Combinator participant Kytephone, and Play Safe, created by a former Kytephone team member, to name a few.
However, unlike some of its competitors, KIDO'Z is mainly targeting the pre-install market. According to KIDO'Z founder and CEO Gai Havkin, the company's software has been installed on now over 1.5 million devices, including both as a full operating system and as a “kid mode” option on otherwise standard devices. Around 80 percent of the company's installs come from these pre-load deals, while the remaining 20 percent of users are consumers who download the mobile app for iOS or Android from the app stores.
Of course, install figures are not active users necessarily, so we asked Havkin to clarify how many people were regularly using the KIDO'Z software. He says it depends. Obviously, where KIDO'Z is the main mobile OS, that's 100 percent. But on traditional tablets, average conversions from installs to actives are around 45 percent on average.
KIDO'Z has partnered with over 25 tablet manufacturers – a list that includes several well-known brand names you would have heard of, though Havkin is not permitted to disclose those on the record. KIDO'Z is also used by several mid-level tablet makers, too, such as Lenco and Yarvik, for example. The company earns revenue through royalties, licensing and white label deals with the tablet makers, and while Havkin declined to offer specific figures, he would say that revenue growth over the past six months has been 700 percent.
With the new funding, the company is planning to grow its now 10-person team by 50 percent over the next year, with hires mainly in engineering and business development. In addition, KIDO'Z will also start going after revenue on the consumer-facing side of its business, with a forthcoming premium feature called “KIDO'Z Pass.” Explains Havkin, this is a subscription model that allows parents to give their kids access to a larger library of premium, kid-safe content with no in-app purchases or ads, for a set monthly fee.
A developers site offers more information on this, indicating that kids' app makers can sign up to join the program, then get paid on a per-use model when end users launch their apps from KIDO'Z. The library is still in the process of being built, however, and will go live later this year. Pricing details are not available.