Canadian toymaker creates $100M VC fund for early stage companies
Spin Master Ventures providing growth capital to promising innovators to bolster product development pipeline.
The company behind the Airhogs toy line and Paw Patrol franchise said Tuesday that Spin Master Ventures will make strategic minority investments in start-ups and entrepreneurs in the children’s entertainment space.
It says the investments will include cash for early-stage companies as well as growth capital for emerging business that have a proven product.
“We’ve always stayed true to our entrepreneurial DNA based on innovation, openness to ideas, partnerships and pushing boundaries,” Ronnen Harary, Spin Master’s co-founder and board chair, said in a statement.
“The pace of innovation within the toys, entertainment and digital games industries is accelerating rapidly and by investing with a long-term view in leading ventures with promising ideas, we can increase our access to potentially game-changing thinking and concepts.
“Spin Master Ventures will establish us as the partner of choice for entrepreneurs looking for capital to start and grow a business in the kids’ space and will complement our acquisition strategy as well as bolster our product development pipeline.”
To launch the fund, Spin Master Ventures has made minority investments in two companies.
The company has invested in Nordlight, a mobile game development company based in Stockholm, and Hoot Reading, a Winnipeg-based online tutoring service.
The company, which is focused on helping kids learn to read, said it will use the investment to expand its reach in new markets, support its product evolution and propel its continued growth.
“Parents are often shocked to learn that more than two thirds of kids are reading below grade level by the fourth grade – and the pandemic significantly exacerbated this issue,” Maya Kotecha, co-founder and co-CEO of Hoot Reading, said in a statement.
“Our mission at Hoot Reading is to help as many kids as possible become not only proficient, but excellent readers. With this funding in place, we can expand our team and scale our platform to meet the growing demand for our service.”
Carly Shuler, also co-founder and co-CEO of Hoot Reading, said the company can tap into Spin Master’s experience building innovative toys, entertainment franchises and digital games to help it diversify and expand its approach to teaching reading online.
“We will also benefit from their success building global brands that kids and parents love, working toward the ultimate goal of helping more children become avid readers,” she said in a statement.