Children’s Audio Platform Yoto Receives $22 Million Injection with Mark Zuckerberg’s Fund Among the Backers

Yoto funding
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Yoto funding
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Photo Credit: Yoto

Children’s audio platform Yoto scores a $22 million injection with $11 million coming from Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

Yoto, the British startup that makes an audio platform for children, recently scored a nearly $23 million funding round. Of this, $11 million was given by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan’s Chan Zuckerberg Ventures, which acquired a nearly 10% stake in the company last year. Other existing shareholders include Paul McCartney, one of Yoto’s first investors.

Launched in 2017 by technophiles Ben Drury and Filip Denker, Yoto was created out of “concerns around the effects of excess screen time for young children, with potential negatives around sleep disruption, fine motor control development, and addictiveness of screens making us think twice about putting our kids in front of a screen.”

“Having met [while] working together in the digital music world, we really wanted to give our kids easy access to music and other audio content,” explains Drury and Denker. “So we came up with the idea of a connected, screen-free audio device that kids could be fully in control of using physical smartcards.”

The Yoto Player is an audio device aimed at children between the ages of three and 12, comprising Bluetooth features with an easy-to-use design that doesn’t require connecting to a phone. A slot at the top of the device can read Yoto cards, which enable it to read stories, podcasts, and other content, as well as play music. The device also features a basic pixel display that changes colors and can show the time.

“At Yoto, we have a vibrant culture of innovation. This new investment will not only help further the expansion of our best-in-class team that is at the forefront of driving growth across markets and products, but also provide the resources to develop our trusted ecosystem that brings value to so many families around the globe,” said Drury.

“While we focus on adapting, evolving, and expanding our offerings, our commitment to fostering independence and inspiration for children through listening, learning, and play remains at the heart of all we do and is core to continuing our trajectory of sustainable growth.”

Though Yoto Player doesn’t require a smartphone connection, the accompanying Yoto app can help adults set bedtime and wake-up routines, sleep timers, and other helpful family features.

The device also has its own exclusive content, including two songs from Paul McCartney’s latest album available. The platform’s original content includes licensed or co-created content from partners like Macmillan, Sony, Disney, Roald Dahl Story Company, HarperCollins, Viacom, and Scholastic. Yoto’s ever-expanding library is now over 1,200 cards strong, with modern classics and beloved characters from franchises like Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, and Sesame Street.