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Cupcake Digital Buys Zuuka Forming One Of Biggest Indie Kids’ App Development Firms

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Cupcake Digital, the New York-based developer with a large portfolio of brand-name children’s mobile applications, has acquired competitor zuuka, best known as the maker of the iStoryTime library app, which offers over 200 children’s e-books. Both companies have grown their respective portfolios by licensing the rights to use well-known kids’ characters in their applications.

In Cupcake Digital’s case, the company offers a number of mobile apps and games, including those featuring characters from Kung Fu Panda, Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock, Strawberry Shortcake, VeggieTales, Yo Gabba Gabba!, Animal Planet, Wow Wow Wubbzy, and The Smurfs, for example.

Founded in 2012, the company now offers titles on Apple’s App Store, Google Play, the Amazon Appstore, and even B&N’s NOOK store. If you’re a parent, you probably have at least one of their games on your mobile phone or tablet, even if the name “Cupcake Digital” doesn’t ring a bell.

Zuuka, meanwhile, also grew its portfolio via licensing deals, and offers apps associated with well-known kids’ characters, too including its own The Smurfs’ app, plus Barney, Ice Age, Cloud With a Chance of Meatballs, the Turbo Movie, The Croods, Madagascar, and more. Its flagship application, iStoryTime, takes advantage of its licensing deals to offer a library app featuring narrated books from film and TV as well as classics.

Combined, the acquisition will make Cupcake Digital one of the largest independent kids’ app developers on the market today, with a library of over 250 titles, and a reach of over 8.5 million downloads.

Zuuka had an undisclosed round of venture backing from Corporate Finance Partners and CFP Investments. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but zuuka’s founders Graham Farrar and Woody Sears will move into senior roles at Cupcake Digital, following the deal’s close. 

The company tells us that, going forward, one important area of focus will be on its partnerships with entertainment studios, who have been making e-books an important part of their launch strategies for films. With the access to Cupcake Digital’s licensing portfolio and relationships, zuuka’s iStoryTime app should be able to expand its e-book library significantly in the future.