k-ID Closes $45 Million Series A from Andreessen Horowitz and Lightspeed Venture Partners to Set a New Global Benchmark for Age-appropriate Gaming Experiences

k-ID is a cross-platform, instant sign-on solution for kids and teens built as an all-in-one answer for solving the complex issue of privacy and online safety worldwide.

This latest of three funding rounds in less than nine months comes as a result of unprecedented traction from major publishers.

SINGAPORE, June 25, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, k-ID, a first-of-its-kind global compliance engine that simplifies online safety and privacy management for game developers, parents, kids, and teens, announced a $45 million Series A funding round. Backed by some of the world’s most sought-after investors, the Series A round comes from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Lightspeed Venture Partners, with major support from Konvoy, TIRTA, the world’s leading identity management platform Okta, and Z Venture Capital from the Japanese tech leader LY Corporation. This brings the total funding raised to date to $51M.


k-ID specializes in powering safety and privacy-by-design solutions for digital platforms, focusing on creating safer, more responsible online communities for kids and teens.

In addition to its substantial Series A, k-ID was recently selected as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer for 2024, joining the ranks of esteemed alumni, including early-stage Google and Airbnb. Only 100 companies make the WEF Technology Pioneers cohort each year based on their potential to transform industries and society.

Game publishers integrating k-ID represent games and online experiences played by hundreds of millions of kids and teens each day around the world, including popular experiences from some of the world’s largest public and private gaming companies.

“The time for change is now—today, the world demands safer, more empowered online experiences for youth,” said Kieran Donovan, co-founder and CEO of k-ID, whose own childhood trauma was the motivation for k-ID. “The groundswell of support from across the industry has been phenomenal. We are excited to accelerate our mission to bring privacy-preserving, youth-first technology that delivers on the societal imperative of empowering the next generation.”

Furthering its affiliation and support within the industry, k-ID also announced today a partnership with the ESRB Privacy Certified program. k-ID has configured its parent/family and developer portals to reflect the program’s COPPA-based requirements. This partnership offers game publishers a way to leverage k-ID technology to help obtain the ESRB Privacy Certified Kids Seal.

Founded by Kieran Donovan, Timothy Ma, Julian Corbett and Jeff Wu, with a mission centered on youth empowerment, the k-ID team hails from the likes of Meta, Tencent, Google, Take-Two, EA, with deep expertise in games, legal compliance and trust and safety. The company, which emerged from stealth in March 2024, is rapidly establishing itself as one of the most promising and fastest-growing start-ups in the world.

INVESTOR PERSPECTIVES

“Kids today make friends and countless memories inside games and virtual worlds, and parents need modern tools to keep them safe,” said Jonathan Lai, General Partner at a16z. “k-ID is serving this need and defining a new industry standard for digital youth safety. We first invested in k-ID at the pre-seed through SPEEDRUN, and we’re thrilled to continue supporting them as they make digital communities safer for kids and parents.”

“It’s rare to find this combination of unique founder-market fit, societal impact, and—most impressively—commercial traction,” said Moritz Baier-Lentz, Partner and Head of Gaming & Interactive Media at Lightspeed, who is joining the company’s board of directors. “Clearly, k-ID is solving a massive challenge for publishers, parents, teens, and kids worldwide. Embarking on this partnership during my parental leave only made it more meaningful.”

“There are over 2 billion people aged 18 and under, and their increasingly expansive digital identity needs to be secure,” said Austin Arensberg, Senior Director, Okta Ventures. “Kids have unique authentication and authorization requirements, and k-ID has a robust and novel approach to ensuring safe online digital access to games and other digital assets. We are incredibly impressed by the team and excited for what lies ahead.”

“Publishers are navigating new challenges with growing their user base under the age of 18 and complicated global compliance standards. We believe k-ID’s innovative solutions will streamline the challenges posed by the ever-changing regulatory landscape and pave the way for a safer online environment for our kids and teens,” said Hyung Kim from Z Venture Capital, Corporate Venture Arm of LY corporation (a merged entity of LINE and Yahoo Japan).

Pioneering new thinking around kids and online gaming, k-ID will attend the prestigious Summer Davos (the 15th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting ) in China and speak at the Games for Change Festival (the premier event for social impact gaming) in New York – both taking place at the end of June.  

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ABOUT

k-ID

k-ID is a cross-platform, instant sign-on solution for kids and teens built as an all-in-one answer for solving the complex issue of privacy and online safety for young players on a global scale. Founded by internationally recognized experts and leaders in online safety, privacy, and gaming, k-ID also leverages insights from current and former regulators to maintain the world’s most dynamic youth compliance platform for game developers. k-ID allows kids and teens to access enriching, age-appropriate experiences while providing parents peace of mind. For more information, visit www.k-id.com.

Andreessen Horowitz

Andreessen Horowitz (aka a16z) is a venture capital firm that backs bold entrepreneurs building the future through technology. We are stage agnostic. We invest in seed to venture to growth-stage technology companies, across AI, bio + healthcare, consumer, crypto, enterprise, fintech, games, infrastructure, and companies building toward American dynamism. a16z has $42B in assets under management across multiple funds. Learn more at a16z.com/games.

Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed is a globally leading venture capital firm across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, with over $29 billion under management. Over the past 20 years, Lightspeed has partnered with hundreds of exceptional entrepreneurs and helped build companies to achieve 200+ IPOs and acquisitions. In 2023, Lightspeed was ranked #1 gaming lead investor by deal volume.

With its dedicated gaming & interactive media practice, the firm invests from an over $6.5 billion pool of early and growth-stage capital—by far the largest set of funds in the sector. Lightspeed’s team combines deep gaming, consumer, and enterprise technology expertise with a global multistage investment platform and a culture that truly puts founders first. Focus areas are game studios (PC, console, mobile), interactive media platforms (social, UGC, distribution, streaming), and related technologies (AI/ML, 3D, engines, game development, AR/VR). For more information, visit gaming.lsvp.com.

Okta

Okta is the World’s Identity Company. As the leading independent Identity partner, we free everyone to safely use any technology—anywhere, on any device or app. The most trusted brands trust Okta to enable secure access, authentication, and automation. With flexibility and neutrality at the core of our Okta Workforce Identity and Customer Identity Clouds, business leaders and developers can focus on innovation and accelerate digital transformation, thanks to customizable solutions and more than 7,000 pre-built integrations. We’re building a world where Identity belongs to you. Learn more at okta.com.

Z Venture Capital

Z Venture Capital serves as the corporate venture capital arm of LY Corporation(an integrated entity of Z Holdings/LINE/Yahoo Japan, etc.), supporting startups with global potential. ZVC is the succeeding company of YJ Capital Inc., which was established in August 2012, following its merger with LINE Ventures Corporation in April 2021.

ESRB Privacy Certified

ESRB Privacy Certified, a division of the non-profit Entertainment Software Rating Board, is an experienced, full-service, privacy certification and compliance program. It helps its members, mostly companies in the video game and toy industries, adopt and implement lawful, responsible, and transparent privacy practices. ESRB serves as one of six Federal Trade Commission-authorized Safe Harbor programs under the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Learn more at https://www.esrb.org/privacy/.

“The time for change is now—today, the world demands safer, more empowered online experiences for youth,” said Kieran Donovan, co-founder and CEO of k-ID.
“The time for change is now—today, the world demands safer, more empowered online experiences for youth,” said Kieran Donovan, co-founder and CEO of k-ID.

From left to right, k-ID Co-Founders: Timothy Ma, Jeff Wu, Kieran Donovan and Julian Corbett
From left to right, k-ID Co-Founders: Timothy Ma, Jeff Wu, Kieran Donovan and Julian Corbett

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