Turner International backs Bright Little Labs with strategic investment to take Detective Dot global
UK-based Bright Little Labs started with a kickstarter campaign in 2016, launching ‘Detective Dot’ and a top-secret spy agency to teach kids coding and analytical skills through adventure stories.
Bright Little Labs is the first ‘edutainment’ startup to receive strategic investment from Turner International’s Digital Ventures & Innovation (DV&I) group.
The funding will be used to fuel Bright Little Labs’ direct to consumer kids platform, build their team and power their international expansion.
Bright Little Labs, the UK-based startup behind Detective Dot, a kids media company on a mission to inspire the next generation of coders, has today announced it has received strategic investment from Turner International. Bright Little Labs becomes the first investment in the ‘edutainment’ space for the global media company behind children’s brands such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Cartoonito.
Turner International DV&I group is providing funding and kids creative expertise to power Bright Little Labs’ international growth as an innovator in the children's coding and life skills space. Christopher Sodergren VP Digital Ventures, DV&I for Turner will also take a seat on BLL’s board of directors. The investment will be used to hire a range of staff for the growing London team, including new technical and operational roles.
Turner International will enhance Bright Little Labs’ current offering, Detective Dot, using its expertise to develop quality products which deliver on the startups vision to engage, entertain and educate children about critical thinking, computer science and coding. Dot, its lead character, is a nine-year-old coder and agent of the Children’s Intelligence Agency, a hi-tech network of young agents who solve international mysteries. The company believes wholeheartedly in the power of stories to make this fundamental subject accessible to all kids, everywhere.
Aksel van der Wal, Executive Vice President of Digital Ventures & Innovation, commented: “Partnering with relevant start-ups is a core part of our strategy to compete and lead in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. We saw in Bright Little Labs the opportunity to expand a great concept into an international multi-platform direct to consumer offering, in a way that fully embraces and utilises our expertise in kids, speaks to our desire to create new fan-centric experiences and aligns us with a like-minded partner. It also serves as a great platform for our ambitions to do more in the kids D2C space.”
Patricia Hidalgo, Chief Content Officer EMEA & International Kids Strategy for Turner, said: “Turner shares with Bright Little Labs a passion for engaging kids in a way which is original and immersive. We see multiple opportunities to leverage our kids’ expertise to further develop Bright Little Labs’ existing business and engage kids in a way that while putting entertainment first also equips them for the skills they need for today’s 21st century world.”
Bright Little Labs was founded by Sophie Deen in 2015. The company launched a successful kickstarter campaign in 2016 for its first product, Detective Dot, to make computer science more accessible to kids, parents and teachers alike. It has since become an award-winning STEM product and is backed by Cabinet Office endorsed tech-for-good accelerator Bethnal Green Ventures and angel investors.
Sophie Deen, CEO and Founder of Bright Little Labs, said: “We’re beyond excited to be partnering with Turner in the next phase of our journey. In a world of post-truth, job-automation and internet enabled teddy bears that could be snooping on you, digital literacy and critical thinking are key. It’s imperative that all children, regardless of their background, have access to these 21st century skills and we’ve seen first-hand that a hi-tech spy agency with empowering role models like Detective Dot is a great way to achieve this. We’re working to scale our transmedia platform, reaching kids wherever they are, so we can deliver rich, personalised experiences directly to our users. Not only do Turner share our vision, working with Turner means we can leverage their expertise in creating the very best kids content and reach new audiences globally.”
Through Detective Dot’s story Bright Little Labs’ aims to achieve two key objectives. Firstly, to push the boundaries of traditional media with better role models. Detective Dot and her global network of CIA agents challenge the traditional gender and racial stereotypes that we often see in mainstream media today.
Secondly, the company uses storytelling to teach coding and critical thinking. This lo-fi, narrative led approach to digital literacy is designed to engage a much wider audience. Computer science is a skill that will be as fundamental as reading and writing in tomorrow’s world and Bright Little Labs believe that all families should have the opportunity to participate.
Sophie Deen says: “Kids aged 5+ are now learning to code in schools worldwide. Digital literacy is a fundamental life skill, but there’s a huge lack of diversity in STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths). Less than 13% of the UK workforce are women or from ethnic minority groups. In fact, fewer women take computer science degrees today than they did 10 years ago! We need better role models ASAP so kids aspire to become coders and creators. Otherwise, the ‘digital divide’ will exacerbate existing global inequalities. Detective Dot is a positive female role model and the Children’s Intelligence Agency is accessible to everyone - you don’t need expensive hardware, or to be a maths prodigy, to get into coding.’
For more information on Bright Little Labs, go to Detective Dot.