New York-based kidtech company Hellosaurus has shored up US$3.5 million in seed funding following the beta-launch of its subscription-based app.
Hellosaurus provides kids content creators—specifically those focused on the two-to-eight demo—with a suite of tools to add interactivity to their programming, says CEO James Ruben. It also doubles as an SVOD service for families looking to watch interactive content, including programming from popular YouTube channels like Super Simple Songs, Cosmic Kids Yoga and Mother Goose Club, and a number of creators from the Pocket.watch stable.
The technology allows kids to interact directly with the content using their touchscreen, camera and microphone. For example, a creator can gamify a video by asking kids to tap all the apples on the screen, or creating a do-along element such as drumming along to a song.
Hellosaurus is a closed platform, and Ruben plans for it to only offer interactive content, making it a safe and more engaging alternative to the likes of YouTube and Netflix, he says.
The app will cost US$7.99 a month when it launches, and beta-testing parents are being invited to participate in a closed chat to provide real-time feedback.
Hellosaurus entered the kids market in May when it premiered its first series, The Birthday Show, allowing kids to host virtual birthday parties. Ruben, a former director of product at HQ Trivia, fast-tracked an early version of the interactive platform to reach families just going into lockdown at the time.
The company is looking to grow its content partner stable, but also has plans to create original content and co-productions using its interactive tools, says Ruben. He also sees potential in building in functionality so family members can watch content together when they’re physically separated.
“In a time when people are at home, we can be something families get excited about,” says Ruben. “With the interactivity, it can be like kids are really at a performance, or are part of their favorite shows. I’m excited to keep growing and see what producers are able to do with our tools.”