Hellosaurus: Hollywood Meets Harvard for Kids

Thea Knobel
Nov 23, 2020 · 4 min read

Hellosaurus’ platform showcases interactive video classes from award-winning kids media creators and YouTube Stars.

Hellosaurus interactive content and creators.

With millions of families at home during shelter in place and the living room and classroom merging, screen time has spiked over 150%. The uptick in screen time is something Hellosaurus Founder & CEO James Ruben believes will stay. So he set out to reimagine screen time into a truly interactive experience. Hellosaurus is a platform that enables creators to make their content more interactive, in turn producing an experience that is not only fun for kids but meaningful for their cognitive development.

“We wanted to create something that a kid will love, but a parent will also feel great about handing over,” said Ruben.

After graduating from Harvard, Hellosaurus Founder & CEO Ruben started his career at Google and then joined HQ Trivia, where he was the Head of Product. At its height, the interactive quiz game HQ Trivia, had tens of millions of players and was the #1 Game in the App Store. This earned him accolades including the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Consumer Technology. Now Ruben is taking what he learned making viral interactive television and applying it to the education world with immersive, entertaining, and educational content for kids. Hellosaurus recently launched its public beta.

Hellosaurus’ first show “The Birthday Show” gave kid’s an interactive way to celebrate their Birthdays during COVID-19. Thousands of families played the show and many wrote into Hellosaurus about what it meant to them.

GSV Ventures was Hellosaurus’ first institutional backer in its pre-seed round and has doubled down on investing post Y-Combinator (YC) in its seed round led by General Catalyst. Techcrunch dubbed Hellosaurus one of its favorite startups in the YC 2020 Batch. Other notable investors include the founder of YouTube Chad Hurley, the founders of Warby Parker, Allbirds and Harry’s through their Good Friends Fund, Vimeo founder Zach Klein, Shrug Capital, Next 10 Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, United Talent Agency Ventures and Global Founders Capital.

Hellosaurus capitalizes on two trends in the growing digital education space that GSV Ventures has identified: Hollywood Meets Harvard and Invisible Learning.

Hollywood meets Harvard describes the intersection of education and entertainment. Hellosaurus is empowering content creators to add a revenue stream and continue to do what they love full time with tools that provide meaningful engagement. After a January 2020 YouTube policy change & FTC settlements, kid content creators have seen a dramatic decline in revenue (~75% ) given limitations around targeted advertising for that age group. As a result, kids media creators have now had to diversify from YouTube but have few platforms to choose from. Now they have Hellosaurus.

Examples of interactive “Do-It” moments on Hellosaurus.

Content creators make interactive shows with “Do-It” moments like “Say It”, “Find It”, and “Build It.” The videos explicitly seek participation from the children and allows interaction through activities that use device tools like the camera, touch screen, and microphone. The content creators on Hellosaurus’ platform have 200 million subscribers collectively. Hellosaurus features content by some of the biggest names in kid’s entertainment including Kidz Bop, Mother Goose Club, and some soon-to-be-announced mega YouTube stars.

Invisible learning is learning that takes place outside the confines of a traditional class. Hellosaurus’ enriching content actively teaches kids through playing and creating. Research proves that play through interactive media and tech can further children’s social and emotional development and learning readiness. Compared to simply watching a video, the responsiveness of interactive media provides children with a feeling of accomplishment, holds promise of better learning, and helps children retain more information.

For parents, Hellosaurus is a “100% guilt free experience. We provide content that is safe and quality with vetted kids media creators and no ads. Parents can feel great about what they’re handing over to their kids when they need to cook dinner or hop on a call,” said Ruben.

The Hellosaurus team is packed with industry veterans focused on curating educational and entertaining content that will delight parents and kids alike. Juliet Menz, an Ed.M from Harvard where she was an Early Childhood Education fellow, previously led content development at Sesame Workshop. Additionally, GRAMMY award winner Tim Kubart brings 15 years experience as pre-school TV-host and songwriter for NBC, Sesame Street, Netflix and PBS Kids.

On why Hellosaurus partnered with GSV Ventures, Ruben said:

“Deborah (GSV’s Managing Partner) was the first person at GSV that I spoke with. It was immediately clear I wasn’t going to speak to anyone else who knew more than she did. Our goal was to work with experts in the space and find people who knew the educational world best.”

Hellosaurus is hiring. You can download the beta here.

GSV Ventures

A venture capital firm investing in exceptional technology entrepreneurs creating scaled solutions in the “PreK to Gray” digital education and skills market.

Thea Knobel

Written by

Vice President of Platform & Marketing at GSV Ventures investing in the globe's top EdTech startups.

GSV Ventures

A venture capital firm investing in exceptional technology entrepreneurs creating scaled solutions in the “PreK to Gray” digital education and skills market.