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Singh’s Sandbox gets Hopster majority

UK-based preschool digital entertainment platform Hopster has closed a multimillion-pound funding round led by Sandbox & Co, giving the latter a majority stake in the business.

Nick Walters

Sandbox & Co is the company set up by former Viacom exec Bhav Singh. Financial details of the funding round were not disclosed.

Hopster said it had “ambitious plans to accelerate strategic partnerships with global distribution companies in both the telco and pay TV spaces while investing in future acquisitions and original content.”

The funding will also go towards updating its product development to improve customer experience while supporting its UK operations to facilitate growth in the new year and beyond, the firm added.

Sandbox & Co describes itself as a strategic operator of “millennial learning and educational companies.” Singh, a former MD and executive VP of emerging markets at MTV Networks International, will become Hopster chairman following this funding round.

Previous investors in Hopster include UKTV Ventures and Sony Pictures Television Networks. The company was founded in 2013 by former Viacom Russia boss Nick Walters.

Hopster joins the growing Sandbox portfolio of digital learning products such as CoolMathGames, Poptropica, Tinybop, Curious World, Family Education, Teacher Vision, Super Awesome, Fact Monster, InfoPlease and Funbrain .

Earlier this year, Hopster launched two original productions, Saturday Club and Rainbow Stories, with the latter being an LGBT+-themed series launched for Pride Month.

Walters, founder and CEO at Hopster, said: “2019 has been an important year in terms of global growth and with the investment by Sandbox we plan to continue and build on our successes.

“We have a long and established relationship with Sandbox who understand and support our vision, our goals and our values as an educational, ethical and ambitious company. We have a number of exciting deals with high-profile partners already in place for 2020 to announce and launch, so we are in a strong position and confident and excited for the future.”

Singh, founder and CEO of Sandbox, added: “We’ve watched Hopster grow from an idea to a market-leading service over the last few years and it was only natural that we continue to support the company to expand on this strong base and foundation as the leading digital pre-kindergarten service and welcome them to the Sandbox family of properties.”

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