While parents often bemoan the countless hours their kids spend online, many are also secretly grateful for the quiet time that online children’s games and YouTube videos provide. The problem arises when children stumble across material online that is not suitable for them.
KIDOZ, pronounced “kiddos”, is an Israeli-based free network for kids to discover safe content. In the past year, KIDOZ has grown from one million monthly active users to 50 million.
The company started out as a personal project by Gai Havkin, co-founder and CEO of KIDOZ, who wanted to create a way for his daughter to safely play games and watch videos online.
“Gai discovered that she was returning to the same clips on YouTube or games she liked a few times, but would eventually get bored at some point and start to wander,” Eldad Ben Tora, KIDOZ’s co-founder and CRO, tells NoCamels. “Unfortunately she frequently bumped into content she should not see – and believe me, it’s out there.”
A safe online enviornment for kids
“So Gai decided to create a safe environment for her,” Ben Tora explains. “One that would suggest new content to her each day based on her interests, with the ability for Gai, and ultimately all parents, to add and remove content as they saw fit.”
The content on KIDOZ is manually checked by editors. “Every clip, game and app we promote is viewed and categorized for the relevant age groups before it becomes visible on our platform,” Ben Tora says.
“Kids do not actively search for content, and parents are not very helpful finding content for their kids,” he adds. “We strive to help them discover good content (apps, games, videos) while they are using mobile devices. Kids who use devices powered by KIDOZ enjoy the largest directory of kid-friendly content and activities worldwide”
App developers benefit too
Not just concerned with parents and kids, KIDOZ also takes into account the app developers. “We help developers of kids’ applications grow their business in a way that respects their brand and their values,” Ben Tora says.
“The first is with kid-friendly monetization. We created an SDK that sits within applications for kids and suggests kid-relevant promoted content offered by brands. This way app developers can present campaigns coming from brands such as Hasbro, Mattel and Nickelodeon and earn from their traffic (instead of showing banners for cars, insurance or dating).”
“The second advantage we offer is app promotion. Developers who want to grow their user base can ask to be promoted on our network, and we drive a highly relevant audience to their app. For example, if they developed an educational app for preschoolers, we will promote them on preschooler-targeted apps only.”
KIDOZ is free to use, and the company is hoping to make money through licensing deals, as well as via paid promotions
$4.7 million raised, a team of 20
A Netanya-based company founded in 2008 by Havkin, KIDOZ started out as a PC-based solution with a very small team. In 2013, Havkin shifted the company to mobile, and Ben Tora joined him as a partner. The company operates as a closed platform, providing apps in a protected environment for kids on smartphones that complied with the Child Online Privacy Protection Act, which limits communication in apps for children under 13. Kidoz locks a smartphone so that a child can only play within the KIDOZ browser.
The company raised their seed round from Lool Ventures and later from two additional VCs. To date, they have raised $4.7 million and have opened up an office in the Poleg section of Netanya while their team has grown to 20 employees.
From 1 million to 50 million users in one year
VentureBeat recently wrote that KIDOZ has jumped from one million to 50 million users in just one year Ben Tora attributes their growth to their change from being an app to becoming a platform, a subject he described in depth recently in a blog he wrote.
Better and safer
“The games for kids space is growing at a tremendous rate,” Ben Tora tells NoCamels, “and kids use mobile devices at a younger age than ever and for longer periods of time during the day, and this is a fact, whether we like it or not.”
“Fighting screen time is a war we have “lost” already,” Ben Tora concludes. “We seek to improve their screen time experience, and direct them toward valuable content and suitable promotions. Making it better and safer is our ultimate goal.”
Photos and videos: KIDOZ