Sesame Street launches venture fund
Collaborative Fund and Sesame Workshop, the non-profit parent organization of children's TV show Sesame Street, announced that they have launched a venture capital arm called Sesame Ventures. Sesame Ventures will be actively involved in selecting startups and offering insight based on its history and experience of working with children's programming. The new venture will invest up to $1 million in promising startup firms.
Formerly known as the Children's Television Workshop, Sesame Workshop is a non-profit organization behind the production of several educational children's programs. Formed in 1968 by Joe Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett, the company is headquartered in New York. It created the first interactive educational experience for children by setting up the Sesame Place and Universal Studios Japan theme parks in the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1966, founders Joan Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett started Sesame Workshop with the question, "Can TV be used to educate children?" That year, they conducted a workshop with Carnegie Corporation, helping kids from underprivileged communities prepare for school through TV.
Collaborative Fund is a venture capital firm based out of New York, USA which was started in 2010 by Craig Shapiro. Collaborative Funds has invested in several start-ups including AngelList, Kickstarter, Sherpaa, Lyft and Reddit. According to the company's website, Collaborative Fund is based on two concepts - the growth of the creative class and the concept of collaborative consumption.
Collaborative Fund is the General Partner, managing the fund's investment decisions with creative inputs from Sesame. The two companies will create a $10 million fund to promote start-ups aimed at innovation in education. Officials said the start-ups could be anything from food startups making healthier snacks for kids to apps focused on childhood development and education, like learning how to code.
Sesame Workshop has historically used part of its endowment to invest in new products, such as TV network Noggin in the late '90s, which has since evolved into Nick Jr. "Sesame has always leveraged the fascination to educate." - Jeff Dunn, CEO of Sesame Workshop