With $5M In New Funding, Tinybop Releases “Plants,” Its Second Educational App For Kids

Children’s app-maker Tinybop is announcing that it has raised $5 million in Series A funding.

The round was first revealed in a regulatory filing last fall, but the company didn’t confirm the news or share details about the investment until now — partly tying into this week’s launch of its second app, Plants.

The company’s first release, The Human Body, came out last August and topped the App Store’s education charts in 143 countries. The company says The Human Body has been downloaded 4.9 million times.

CEO Raul Gutierrez told me that when he looked at the children’s app market, “A lot of it is noisy, it’s loud, it’s poorly designed, a lot of app titles are derivative of television products.” In contrast, he said Tinybop’s approach “is deep, it’s carefully considered. We hope it’s really fun.” As an example, he noted that in The Human Body app, the body will actually hiccup and yawn at plausible moments.

“It might not happen until the 50th time … but those little touches are the things that really draw in the kid,” he said.

I’m not exactly in the target audience, but after playing with the Plants app earlier today, I was impressed by the level of detail in its simulation of planting and growth. And hey, as someone whose knowledge of plant names and biology is pretty shaky, maybe I actually learned something.

Gutierrez also said that while Tinybop is experimenting with different ideas around monetization, its underlying business plan is pretty straightforward: “We want to sell a lot of apps everywhere. We think these titles are evergreen, and there will always be another group of six-year-olds.” (The Plants app is currently priced at $1.99; The Human Body at $3.99.)

Of course, that means winning over their parents, as well. Gutierrez said that Tinybop aims to build “a constellation of apps” that parents can trust to be both fun and informative. The company has paid particular attention to building a strong brand; even before it was funded, the team created a 60-page brand book. Tinybop plans to release three apps this year, but Gutierrez said it’s still “ramping up” to his desired pace, which is a new app every three or four months.

The Series A, which comes after a $1 million seed round, was led by RRE Ventures, with additional funding from Two Sigma Ventures and KEC Ventures. RRE’s Steve Schlafman and Tina Roth Eisenberg (CEO of breakfast lecture series CreativeMornings) have joined the Tinybop board.

In the funding release, Schlafman said that he’s looked at “hundreds” of children’s media startups in the past five years, and he found Tinybop to be “the 1 percent of the 1 percent.”