The deal values the 10-year-old digital media firm based in Calgary at $465 million and brings its fundraising total to date to $62 million. Kidoodle offers a bundle of subscription streaming channels that feature content hand-selected to be appropriate for impressionable young minds. It also has ad-supported tiers that promise to offer a carefully controlled environment for age-appropriate advertising.
Kidoodle, owned by A Parent Media Co., saw rapid growth during the pandemic and has been looking to capitalize on both ends of the streaming video growth curve: subscription and ad-supported. Kidoodle has ad-filtering technology that is also being licensed out to other users as concerns grow among mainstream digital publishers about the spread of objectionable content online.
As part of the investment, TriWest Capital’s Jon Spencer has joined Kidoodle’s board of directors.
“Management’s vision has allowed APMC to build industry leading ad-technology to provide solutions to open media platform problems, all while prioritizing the protection of children in a rapidly growing and changing industry,” Spencer said. “TriWest is excited to be part of the Company’s next phase of growth and is proud to partner with a team committed to the family values APMC represents.”
The Canadian private equity firm’s interest in Kidoodle is validating for the entrepreneurs who pursued their vision for a kid-safe streaming platform long before the streaming wars erupted. Kidoodle is available in about 160 markets around the world. The company has mostly licensed content but is stepping up its output of originals.
“We feel that this alignment validates the achievements we have made to date and our commitment to families globally in a time when protections for children are needed the most,” said Kidoodle founder Michael Lowe, who lists his title as CEO and Dad. Neil Gruninger is also listed as as founder and president as well as “Uncle.”
“As we face a period of time where child safety should be the most important conversation, we are committed to shifting the narrative,” said Gruninger. “We are thrilled to have TriWest join the Kidoodle.TV family and worked hard to align with a finance partner that understands not only the opportunity, but that families should come first. That’s part of our DNA.”
The pact between A Public Media Co. and Kidoodle came together with the help of Fred Mannix Jr., a successful Canadian polo player turned investment banking executive.
“This is a business for positive impact. As a father, it was important to me to stand behind the strong work ethic and commitment to safety for children that this company represents,” Mannix said.
Correction: A Parent Media Co. has raised a total of $62 million to date. An earlier version of this story stated TriWest Capital Partners had invested $62 million in this round.
Best of Variety