Dubai-based startup Growl Media ‘Growl’, a creator of edutainment content for young children, has secured a Series A investment from the Auvest Group ‘Auvest’, an alternative investment and advisory firm. Under the terms of the agreement, Auvest will acquire a significant minority stake in Growl with an added option to increase its shareholding.
“The funding will enable us to expand our product offering to webisodes and TV; continue to build our stable of apps; enhance Eureekah, our technology platform built in-house; and bring our content to new markets,” said Dinesh Lalvani, CEO and Founder of Growl.
The team at Growl will double over the coming months as it prepares to launch its first series of webisodes in Arabic featuring Zee, one of its main characters. Zee was recently announced as the brand ambassador for the Samsung Galaxy Tab for Kids in an agreement signed between Growl and Samsung. By starting with mobile content such as apps and webisodes, Growl has been able to reach a huge cross-section of the population in a short amount of time. Eventually, the company is looking to expand into TV, film and merchandise. Lalvani believes that being accessible on multiple touch points creates a more holistic learning experience for children as it reinforces fundamental concepts in different ways.
“Growl is poised to become a dominant player in the market for children’s content in the MENASA region and we are excited to be part of this journey with Dinesh and his talented team,” said Humayun Shahryar, CEO and Founder of Auvest. The board of directors of Growl will be expanded to include two senior executives from Auvest.
Growl was founded by Dinesh Lalvani in April 2013, along with Divia Srinivasan (CFO). The company’s vision is to ‘Educate, Entertain, Empower’ by creating quality, culturally-relevant edutainment content for children around the world. To date, the company has published 9 apps based on two characters, Alfie and Zee, which target 2-6 year olds in the Indian and Arabic-speaking markets. Published under the brand name ‘AppyKids’, these apps introduce young children to languages and cultures in a fun and entertaining way. Growl’s portfolio of apps recently surpassed half-a-million downloads, with all of them reaching #1 on the Apple App Store, a clear indication of the growing demand for such content in the region.
The idea to set-up Growl came to Lalvani when he wanted to teach his children Arabic and Hindi. “I just could not find engaging, local content. While kids content developed in the western markets are imaginative and rich, they lack cultural context. Local children’s content, on the other hand, tends to be poor in quality and narrow in focus. That’s where we believe Growl can make a difference,” said Lalvani.
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