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Toronto-based Spin Master Inc. is launching a $100 million corporate venture fund focused on the company’s kid-focused specialties in games, toys and entertainment, and announced its first two investments.
“The pace of innovation within the toys, entertainment and digital-games industries is accelerating rapidly and by investing with a long-term view in leading ventures with promising ideas, we can increase our access to potentially game-changing thinking and concepts,” Spin Master Board Chair Ronnen Harary. “Spin Master Ventures will establish us as the partner of choice for entrepreneurs looking for capital to start and grow a business in the kids’ space and will complement our acquisition strategy as well as bolster our product development pipeline.”
One of Spin Master Ventures’ first investments is in Nørdlight, a Swedish mobile game development company whose deeply experienced principals previously ran the prototype team at King.com and worked on Candy Crush Saga, among other titles. Spin Master plans to leverage the Nørdlight investment to help it monetize its own intellectual property in digital games.
The venture fund also invested in Hoot Reading, an online tutoring service connecting students with experienced teachers for live, one-on-one reading lessons through a video platform. The Canadian company connects teachers and students across North America with a library of more than 2,000 textbooks.
The initial $100 million investment will focus on Spin Master’s three “creative centers,” toys, entertainment and digital games, and track medium- and long-term trends including emerging technologies, pioneering services and other areas. Initial regions of focus are North America and Europe, backing both new teams and more mature businesses that are a close fit with Spin Master business priorities.
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Spin Master’s licensed and owned brands in games, entertainment and toys include Paw Patrol, Batman, Wizarding World: Harry Potter, Bakugan: Geogan Rising, Gund, Tech Deck, Toca Boca, Sago Mini, and Air Hogs.