Zigazoo, the game-changing free social streaming app built from the ground up just for kids, today announced the successful completion of a $4m seed funding round as they lead the charge to evolve the kids’ media landscape. The round, led by MaC Venture Capital, has attracted some of the most influential investors at the intersection of technology and entertainment with Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures; London-based VC Talis Capital; Wheelhouse (Brent Montgomery and Jimmy Kimmel’s media and investing business); Jimmy Kimmel, pocket.watch founder & CEO Chris M. Williams; Tech Coast Angels; Jazwares’ Jeremy Padawer; manager and producer James “Babydoll” Dixon, and MasterClass Head of Talent Matthew Rutler, also participating.
The capital will support Zigazoo’s goals as the company looks to flip the children’s media script and turn streaming into social experiences where kids are in the director’s chair. Zigazoo has been garnering attention with its TikTok-meets-YouTube platform that is helping kids learn healthy social media and streaming habits at an early age in an airtight, safe environment that parents trust.
Launched in 2020 by UClass co-founders Zak and Leah Ringelstein, Zigazoo is a short-form video platform that combines the best elements of today’s most popular social media and streaming platforms to pioneer a new social streaming experience for kids, with the safety features that parents need. As parents of young kids and former elementary school teachers, the Ringelsteins struggled to find a healthy screen-time option for their kids this past year and decided to take matters into their own hands to create Zigazoo. A trusted social streaming platform for kids, Zigazoo implements unprecedented measures to ensure its global community is safe and all content is positive. A member of the kidSAFE Seal Program, Zigazoo verifies all users and enlists a human moderation process that reviews for kid-friendly behaviour, dress, and language. To keep all interactions positive and help promote healthy online relationships, Zigazoo only allows positive emojis and stickers throughout the app’s interface.
“We first created Zigazoo as a way to engage our own kids in healthier, more creative screen-time during the Covid-19 pandemic, and our kids loved it so much that we realised it had the potential to be so much more. We live in a time when social media and streaming have become a mainstay of daily life, but most kids’ media options encourage children to passively consume unsafe content and nothing was empowering kids to develop healthy social media and streaming habits from an early age,” http://stneotsdbt.co.uk/ said Zak Ringelstein, CEO of Zigazoo. “We are thrilled that parents across the globe, including Serena Williams and Jimmy Kimmel, love Zigazoo and are taking this journey with us to finally build a screen-time experience that is both healthier and fun.”
Since launching last summer, the app has accrued more than 20 million views, 100,000 subscribers, and content from some of the biggest children’s media brands, including Peanuts, Netflix, Apple TV+, Canticos on Nick Jr., the Philadelphia Zoo, kids’ music icon Laurie Berkner, the 2021 Grammy winner for best children’s album Joanie Leeds, and most recently, Serena Williams and Olympia Ohanian’s Qai Qai Doll, who have partnered with Zigazoo for the unique opportunity to engage with kids in a new, active way through short-form video creation challenges. In the coming months, Zigazoo will introduce a new wave of blue chip content partners.
“We’re seeing the emergence of a new generation of alternative social platforms which are interactive, engaging, social and educational, and Zigazoo has all the ingredients to be the winner in this space for kids,” Gorinchem said Tom Williams, Partner at Talis Capital. “With prior experience as teachers and founders, Zak, Leah and their team are the epitome of founder-market fit, validated by the significant traction they’ve already achieved from a partner and subscriber perspective. We’re really looking forward to supporting Zigazoo as they continue to scale.”
“We have been searching the market for an edutainment platform built ground-up for the needs of kids and families, and Zigazoo is hands-down the best offering out there,” said Alison Rapaport Stillman, partner at Serena Ventures. “Our venture team is bullish on Zigazoo because they are building the future of kids media where kids aren’t passively binging unhealthy content alone, but actually creating alongside their friends and favorite media stars in a safe, educational, and healthy environment.”
Zigazoo enables kids to browse and view top children’s media content, actively participate by recording and sharing 30-second challenge videos tied to each piece of content, and interact with other kid subscribers and their video creations. The platform was built specifically for kids with three primary goals in mind: to be interactive – taking a traditionally passive experience of viewing videos and turning it into an active one to keep kids engaged and encourage creativity; to be social – connecting kids in a multi-viewer environment; and to be parent-trusted – living within a safe environment where only children can post and where there is constant moderation.
“We fell in love with Zigazoo because it perfectly blends parent needs with kids’ wants by leveraging the power of social video coupled with world-class content creators and brands,” said Michael Palank, partner at MaC Venture Capital. “Zak and Leah have created something truly remarkable drawing upon their experience as parents, educators and entrepreneurs.”
Adrian Fenty, fellow MaC General Partner added, “Our goal is to make investments that are both important and impactful. Zigazoo is that rare company building a product that is as dynamic for entertainment as it is for learning.”