A publisher for the touch generation €10m fund round for StoryToys parent

Touch Press has proved e-learning is not just child’s play after it raised $10 million (€9.4 million).

The company was formed last year after the integration of Dublin-based StoryToys, the games division of New York company Amplify, and London-based app developer Touch Press.

The lead investors are an investment vehicle backed by Emerson Collective, the philanthropic organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, a businesswoman and widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, and Chinese venture capital fund PGA Ventures.

The money raised will be spent on marketing, new product development and continued work on a major Amplify initiative, Lexica, a 3D virtual world, according to Barry O’Neill, chief executive of StoryToys and Touch Press. Touch Press will also look at other potential acquisitions that could complement the portfolio, he said.

Brothers Aidan and Kevin Doolan founded StoryToys in 2008. Its content, including interactive books and apps, focuses on two-to ten-year-olds, while Amplify provides educational game-based content for 11 to 14-year-olds.

“StoryToys has been doing very well and we really built a position for ourselves.”

“We are renowned for quality and we have had tremendous user growth,” O’neill said, adding that StoryToys products are downloaded in excess of one million times a month and 250,000 people use its content every week.

“We were scratching our heads as to how we would age up because we knew we would have an audience using our content that were getting older. There are new customers born every day, but we wanted to be able to extend that model so the Amplify portfolio was a perfect fit for us,” he said.

Together, the companies will turn Touch Press into “a publisher for the touch generation”, he said.

StoryToys has been active in the Japanese market, where it has a very healthy business, he said. O’Neill has very strong connections there as his previous company, mobile game publisher UpStart Games, was a Japanese/Irish venture.

It is now looking at expansion into other markets in Asia, particularly China.

China moved from a one-child-per-family policy to a two-child policy last year, so it is experiencing baby boom.

There is a huge opportunity for Touch Press there as a result, he said, as millions more potential customers are being born.

At the moment, it is looking at entry points into the Chinese market, and Touch Press’s Chinese investors should help with that, he said.

Touch Press has 47 employees, 11 based in New York and 36 in Dublin. O’Neill said he could see the Dublin team scaling up to 50 by the end of the year, and the company will have more than 100 people in Ireland over the next five years.

Irish investors in the funding round include Leaf, the investment unit of Irish publisher Folens, and venture capital fund Enterprise Equity, which was StoryToys’ first investor.

For original report , please refer  to : https://www.businesspost.ie/business/publisher-touch-generation-e10m-fund-round-storytoys-parent-376570