UKTV has unveiled its first deal invested through UKTV Ventures, its multi-million pound innovation fund, with an airtime-for-equity investment in Hopster. The broadcaster also announced the appointment of Sheena Amin to spearhead the fund.
UKTV announced the launch of the innovation fund last year to invest in burgeoning high-growth companies wishing to access the television advertising market. Under the terms of the fund, UKTV obtains equity stakes in businesses in return for advertising airtime on its network, helping companies to build their brand and scale their business by advertising on television.
Hopster, the preschool learning and entertainment platform, is the first business to benefit from an investment by UKTV Ventures. Hopster blends entertainment and education with content designed to help develop kids’ core early years skills and to encourage their curiosity. The app includes ad-free family friendly TV shows such as Thomas & Friends and Sesame Street segments, along with a growing catalogue of songs, books and educational games.
Simon Michaelides, UKTV’s Chief Commercial Officer said: “TV advertising remains the most efficient and effective marketing medium, with the highest spend coming from businesses in the digital sector. We’re very pleased to help high potential companies like Hopster gain access to the growth opportunity that TV brings, and we look forward to being part of the growth story for even more innovative, young businesses in the future.”
To run the fund UKTV has appointed Amin in the newly created role of Director of Business Development and Diversification. Amin began her career as a venture capitalist investing in high growth technology businesses at growth equity firm Summit Partners. She has gone on to hold senior positions in the media and telecoms space, including heading up business development at Virgin Media and managing commercial partnerships for Dixons Carphone.
At UKTV, Amin is responsible for UKTV Ventures and will also lead the development of new capabilities and revenue streams by enhancing UKTV’s core business and diversifying beyond it.
Michaelides commented: “I’m very excited to welcome Sheena to UKTV. She brings with her a rare blend of experience with both a grounding in Venture Capital, and a thorough understanding of digital business development in the Broadcast TV industry. This makes her perfectly placed to lead our innovation agenda, and fuel UKTV’s growth story well into the future!”
Amin said: “I am delighted to have joined UKTV and to have the opportunity to play such a pivotal role in shaping the company’s growth and diversification strategy over the years to come. My first priority will be to develop UKTV Ventures – raise awareness of our unique proposition, define our investment strategy and build a strong team. We’re off to a great start with our first investment in Hopster and I look forward to partnering with many more innovative startups to help them create a strong brand, acquire new customers and grow their business to the next level.”