Mattel, the multinational toy manufacturer best known as the maker of Barbie, Hot Wheels, and other iconic toys, has acquired Caribu, an app that allows families to read, draw and play games in an interactive video call.
The news, first published by The Toy Book, was confirmed in a LinkedIn post by Maxeme Tuchman, Caribu’s co-founder and CEO. Neither Tuchman nor Toy Book disclosed the financial terms of the deal.
“Finding the perfect partner that shares your and your company’s values is extremely hard so we at Caribu are incredibly lucky to be joining the Mattel family today to fully realize our vision,” Tuchman wrote in a LinkedIn post.
Founded in 2016, Caribu enables kids and families to read, play, and draw together no matter how far apart they are. The acclaimed video-calling platform is packed with educational content geared toward kids ages 0-12 and incorporates games, books, and other creative activities from a variety of intellectual property holders into the virtual playdate experience.
Mattel was our first content partner, and truly believed in what we were building. Its characters, like Thomas and Barbie, have been at the center of millions of Caribu Calls since our early days, and we’re overjoyed that we can now bring more Mattel brands and characters to our families’ virtual playdates, further expanding the connection between physical toys and experiences, Toy Book quoted Tuchman as saying in a statement.
Following the acquisition, Caribu will be part of Mattel Future Lab, an initiative launched earlier this year in an effort to pioneer the future of play, and Maxeme Tuchman and co-founder Alvaro Sabido will join Mattel in roles focused on the Caribu app.
Ron Friedman, Vice President of Mattel Future Lab, said the app is an example of the toy company’s aspiration to stay at the forefront of physical and digital entertainment for kids of all ages.
A direct-to-consumer entertainment platform like Caribu enables us to engage with our customers in brand-new ways. The Caribu platform will open new insights and opportunities for Mattel, and most importantly, it will create a direct relationship of entertainment, inspiration, and development for children with our beloved characters and brands beyond physical play, all of which follows our aspiration to stay at the forefront of innovation in both the physical and digital worlds for kids of all ages.
Caribu was named one of the 15 best apps of 2020 by Apple, and Time Magazine named it one of the best inventions of 2019. The Miami-based company has raised nearly $6 million in funding before the acquisition, including a $2 million round backed entirely by female and minority investors.