UK-based Caper gets backing from LEGO for its interactive outdoor family adventures

Caper, the London-based startup providing interactive entertainment to families, has announced a seed investment round of approximately €300K, led by LEGO Ventures with participation from Founders Factory. 

The Caper app offers parents original stories known as ‘missions’ designed to be played by the family together outdoors, with a number of missions suitable for inside the home. Over 4,000 families downloaded the beta version of Caper during the lockdown period, finding the app a welcome source of fun, creativity, and entertainment. 

Caper’s ‘missions’ keep screentime to a minimum and have a real-world focus interwoven into the narrative of each adventure, helping reconnect families to each other and the world around them through engaging characters and exciting activities. Caper, founded in 2020, uses the latest smartphone facial capture technology to create fully-animated talking characters, disrupting the idea of game-play as a sedentary, screen-based activity that children play in isolation. 

This funding round coincides with the release of Caper’s initial series of eight ‘missions’ starring space adventurer, Captain Redtail, and his robot sidekick, TikTik. Additional new series with entirely new characters will be released in the coming months. 

Ben Geliher, CEO and co-founder of Caper, formerly Lead Producer at Mind Candy, said: “Our vision is for Caper to become the home of original content that enables families to spend quality, active time together. With our team’s extensive background in game design, and being parents ourselves, we make it easy for adults to have adventures with their kids out in nature or at home – which has proven popular during the recent lockdown. We also understand parents’ concerns over screen time and want to show that there is a positive way to use technology through shared experiences.

“This investment from Lego Ventures helps us on our journey to achieve that vision, thanks to their deep understanding of children’s play styles and creativity that will help inform our content. We are also delighted to have the continued support of Founders Factory, whose solid expertise in launching start-ups is invaluable. The investment will allow us to enable us to create more original Caper content, faster to families who keep coming back for more.” 

Even before COVID-19, the damaging effects of sedentary lifestyles and a lack of connection to nature on children were gaining public awareness. As lockdown eases, new research indicates that there is a resurgence of enthusiasm for nature,  alongside an understanding that a whole generation of children could suffer heightened mental health challenges as they process their experiences of the pandemic. Many parents have been juggling their working lives with educating their children at home, and now, uncertainty around travel plans means that the summer of 2020 will, in many cases, be spent closer to home. 

Rob Lowe, Head of Marketing and Value Creation at LEGO Ventures said, “Caper is a very exciting new startup – not only to inspire kids and families to play outdoors and new places, but also for them to engage socially and learn about their environment. LEGO Ventures are proud to be supporting them as they start on their journey to drive a new paradigm in the intersection between digital and physical play.” 

Paul Egan, Chief Studio Officer, Founders Factory, said: “We know that screen time is an issue for many families. With so many apps out there designed to keep you scrolling and glued to the screen, I’m really excited by a product that empowers families to have rich meaningful experiences together. Beyond the social impact, the vision for this business is to be a platform that enables any creator to build their own interactive, shared experiences. This is a truly global market opportunity.” 

Caper is currently available for free on iOS and Android. From late August 2020, the first episode of Captain Redtail will continue to be available for free, with the rest of the series (7 episodes and bonus extras) available for one-off bundle purchase at £4.99 (around 5.50) 

Caper has been developed within the Founders Factory startup studio in collaboration with Lego Ventures.

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