In all fairness, Minics‘ vitual world for 7-13 year olds isn’t just about getting stranded on an island. In fact, it is more about teaching kids about survival and the bare necessities of life more than anything else. And the Paris-based company itself seems to be surviving just fine, especially now that it has €1 million in the bank.
With over 100K members, Minics was one of the 5 startup finalists at TechCrunch France’s Remix event in November. This recent round of funding comes primarily from Cap ISF, a French holding company that operates as a result of the wealth tax credit as individuals in France are able to reduce their wealth tax by investing in a startup. Minics says it will be looking to raise more funding in the near future as well.
The company founded in 2009 initially launched in Spain and is now in the process of developing its French user base. The platform essentially allows kids to personalize their avatars and to take care of them on the island. They earn “energy” points by providing food and clothing – perhaps in kind of a Tomagotchi way – and can also interact with others on the platform à la Secondlife. And the company’s Freemium model makes it so that kids can have unimited access to all the various options available on the site for a monthly fee of €3.95.
Now that Minics has money in the bank, they’re hoping to become the leading virtual world for kids in Europe – but they’re not the lone star. Sites like Panfu, Club Penguin, Boaki and Woozworld will definitely give pre-adolescent kids plenty of options. And there’s also Museworld, which is just for girls ages 6-14.
Yet, one of the main challenges for children’s virtual worlds is security. Obviously parental conscent is necessary in order to access the site and Minics requires this upfront as kids register for the site. In addition, no sensitive information is shared (address, telephone number, email, etc.) and no external links can be shared between users on the platform. And no inappropriate vocabulary either. But this type of monitoring is not necessarily unique to Minics – a majority of children’s sites need to take extra precautions.