In an exclusive global video partnership, New York-based mobile-centric kids media company MarcoPolo Learning has secured US$8.5 million in funding in a round led by Toronto, Canada-based Boat Rocker Media (The Next Step , Stella and Sam), along with Horizons Ventures (Asia), Seedcamp (Europe) and the managing partners of DST Global.
Aimed to fuel premium animated long-form preschool content for linear and digital platforms with Boat Rocker and its family of companies, MarcoPolo will also use the Series A funding round to help grow its award-winning suite of early childhood education apps, which currently reach over five million children in more than 150 countries including the US, China, Russia, the UK and Japan.
Terms of the app-plus-video strategy will see each new series leverage MarcoPolo’s popular cast of characters from its sandbox-style game apps including Ocean, Weather, Arctic and Recall.
Boat Rocker will handle global distribution for all of the new content.
The expansion follows the launch of MarcoPolo’s first video production division in 2016, which introduced the company’s first-ever short-form original series, The Polos (pictured).
Boat Rocker division Boat Rocker Ventures led the new financing round. Senior execs from Amazon-owned Diapers.com, Disney’s Maker Studios, Newscorp and YY also contributed.
The company’s deal with Boat Rocker is part of a recently announced five-year plan for digital and linear growth.
With its banners Boat Rocker Studios (which includes Temple Street, Jam Filled and Radical Sheep), Boat Rocker Rights, Boat Rocker Brands, Boat Rocker Ventures and Boat Rocker Digital, Boat Rocker Media creates, produces and distributes premium media content for all platforms.
It recently named Fisher-Price as master toy partner for its upcoming Industrial Brothers preschool co-pro Kingdom Force.