Microsoft takes stake in child-friendly ad tech firm, SuperAwesome

Microsoft has made an investment, rumoured to be in the region of £17m, in SuperAwesome, a UK company that helps advertisers run privacy-compliant ads on websites and apps aimed at children.

Microsoft made the investment via its M12 venture fund. M12 has also opened a London office that will look for investment opportunities across Europe, focusing on companies involved in big data, analytics, business software as a service, cloud infrastructure, machine learning, artificial intelligence, productivity and security. Led by Matthew Goldstein, one of M12’s founding partners, the office will prioritise businesses in the Series A through C funding stages.

SuperAwesome’s customers include LEGO, NBC Universal, Hasbro and Mattel. The company helps these and others adhere to and comply with laws such as COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule) in the US’ GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe and the CCPA (California Consimer Privacy Act) in California. Last week, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s data protection watchdog, published the Age Appropriate Design Code – a set of standards for that are intended to help protect the privacy and safety of children when they go online.

SuperAwesome chief executive Dylan Collins said: “We’re extremely pleased to welcome M12 on board as investors. As the company building the kidtech infrastructure that makes the internet safer for children, it was very important to align with investors who share our values. With Microsoft’s leadership in privacy and of course their acquisition of Minecraft, it was clear we had a common set of perspectives about what the future of the internet looks like.”

Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president and global head of M12, added: “We are proud to welcome the SuperAwesome team to the M12 portfolio. Dylan has cultivated a mission-driven team dedicated to keeping the internet safer for kids – a critical priority for digital-first generations, with more than 175,000 kids coming online every day. Given Microsoft’s footprint in the identity management space, we’re also excited to explore opportunities for partnership with SuperAwesome.”

Since launching in 2016, M12 has so invested in 87 companies. The London office joins an M12 network that includes San Francisco, Seattle, Tel Aviv and Bengaluru.