Venture

London’s Moshi Raises $12M To Grow Its Kids’ Audio Sleep & Mindfulness App

If you’re a parent, you’ve struggled with getting your child to sleep–at least most have.

In fact, getting your kid to sleep can be one of the most stressful aspects of being a parent.

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One company is out to ease some of that stress. London-based Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulness (or Moshi for short) has just raised a $12 million Series B round to help it achieve its mission “to improve the health and happiness of a billion families by helping kids relax and sleep” with its audio sleep and mindfulness app.

Moshi was born out of Mind Candy which was created by Michael Acton Smith, one of the co-founders of popular meditation app Calm.

Acton Smith stepped down as CEO of Mind Candy in 2015 to move to the U.S. and build Calm. He tapped Ian Chambers to lead the company’s turnaround and next phase. Chambers and his team then created Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulness, launching in December 2017. The app is now the sole focus of the company and Mind Candy has been rebranded to Moshi. Acton Smith remains an active member of the board.

Bay Area venture firm Accel led the funding round, which also included participation from Latitude Ventures and TriplePoint Capital, in addition to former MTV CEO and chairman Bill Roedy.

Moshi’s app works similarly to Calm, but is focused on kids up to the age of 10 with “Moshi Monsters” as its characters. It’s all original content, and over the years 85 million stories have been played on Moshi with some told by the likes of actress Goldie Hawn (for no charge) and Sir Patrick Stewart. (Pretty impressive that all of its content has been created “from scratch,” I have to say.)

Besides stories, the Moshi app also includes meditations, music and sounds designed to help kids relax and fall asleep.

Moshi saw its subscriber base grow by 7 times in 2019 to reach 100,000, according to CEO Ian Chambers.

“It’s become one of the biggest kids’ properties in the United Kingdom with a huge reach in the U.S. and other parts of the world,” he told Crunchbase News.

Origin

Chambers said he was drawn to Moshi from his own experiences as a dad of two young kids. (Acton Smith created the monsters and Chambers created the world/experience.)

“I realized how much energy my wife and I spent once the lights go out, after we’d read them the story,” he said. “We were going back and forth from one room to the other. So as someone focused on tech content and entertainment, I thought there had to be a positive way to use technology that didn’t involve screens.”

The team worked with sleep specialists and clinicians to better understand the process by which kids go to sleep and created content to reflect those stages.

“There’s other content out there that is just regular stories,” Chambers told me. “But ours is designed specifically for the process of falling asleep.”

Julia Hawkins of Latitude Ventures is joining Moshi’s board in conjunction with the funding, which the company says will help it launch new features and content. The new capital will also go toward new advertising initiatives and growth partnerships with the goal of expanding in the United States, which Chambers said is “by far” Moshi’s biggest market.

The CEO has a “strong belief in very lean teams … with superstars in every position.” As such, Moshi’s headcount is around 25.

Blog Roll Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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