Turner International’s Digital Ventures & Innovation group has made an equity investment in UK-based Bright Little Labs, a kids educational entertainment startup. The funding will go toward international expansion of its development and distribution capabilities.
Turner plans to also provide expertise on the kids space to BLL, so that it can develop high-quality kids IP focused on critical thinking, computer science and coding.
Its current IP is Detective Dot (pictured), a high-tech spy from the Children’s Intelligence Agency that uses the official UK curriculum to teach kids to code. Turner is now BLL’s main strategic investor, so the startup will have access to all of its animation, licensing and merchandising portfolio for future projects.
The move is intended to represent a deeper commitment in the edutainment space, and as such it intends to find other relevant startups to invest in.
Since forming 18 months ago, Turner’s Digital Ventures and Innovation group has launched the gaming service Gloud, the movie streaming service FilmStruck, and invested in Copa90, a multimedia platform dedicated to soccer fans. The venture is focused on direct-to-consumer opportunities through in-house development and acquisition.
The investment comes as companies are increasingly investing in coding initiatives for kids, including Mattel and Tynker partnering for a Barbie coding platform expected to reach 10 million kids by 2020. Disney has also released a plethora of coding products, as part of its big Force Friday toy release ahead of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere.