KARRI Secures £775,000 Pre-Seed Funding to Launch Smart Walkie-Talkie for Safe Child-Parent Communication

KARRI, a startup developing a smart walkie-talkie for children, has raised £775,000 in pre-seed funding.

The round was led by 468 Capital and included contributions from a notable group of angel investors such as Verena Pausder, an early backer of play-based learning provider Edurino and Chair of the Board at the German Startup Association; Hakan Koç, founder and CEO of the global IoT provider 1GLOBAL; and Michael Hernaus and Wolfgang Reisinger, founder and managing director of Tractive, the GPS pet tracking company.

Other participants included Sven Vaders, VP of Product and a founding member of the Frankfurt-listed company Tonies; Matthias Laug, co-founder and former CTO of Tier Mobility with expertise in IoT; and Christian Indra, a senior product leader at Shopify.

The investment marked a major step forward in the company’s mission to enable a seamless way for parents and young children to stay in touch, giving children greater independence and parents peace of mind. KARRI planned to use the funding to take its product from the current prototype testing phase to mass production and rollout in the UK.

Parents of young children often wanted to give them more freedom and independence to roam with their friends in local neighbourhoods but were also increasingly wary of giving them screen-based devices like smartphones that exposed them to the full Internet. These devices were difficult to supervise and distracting, especially when on the go, while typical walkie-talkies had limited range and ‘dumb’ phones lacked parental controls and monitoring.

KARRI built a simple and reliable solution by providing a data-enabled walkie-talkie for children securely integrated with a smartphone app for parents. Designed for children aged four to ten, KARRI is a robust and waterproof device allowing children to send messages simply by pushing a button and speaking.

Parents could receive and send messages back via the KARRI app and track their children’s location via GPS. For additional security, parents could enable geo-fencing to demarcate a “safe zone” and be automatically notified if their child roamed beyond this area. Children could also use their KARRI like a classic walkie-talkie and communicate with one another in channels, as well as with their parents and relatives, all securely managed via the KARRI smartphone app for parents.

Pete Clifford, KARRI founder and Managing Director, said: "It is our core belief that we have overprotected children in the real world while under protecting them in the virtual world. KARRI is designed to help redress this imbalance by eliminating the need to give young children a smartphone.

“Parents are increasingly concerned about their children's online safety and extensive screen time, yet they value the benefits of staying connected with them at all times in the real world. We're excited that KARRI will allow children to roam free, explore, and gain independence while ensuring their safety and giving parents peace of mind.

“We aimed to make it as easy as possible for parents and children to stay in touch, so we have built a screen-free solution that is simple and reliable."

Alexander Kudlich, General Partner at 468 Capital said: "Our investment in KARRI underlines our commitment to backing innovations that redefine how technology can be used responsibly and enhance our daily lives. The team has ambitious plans to support parents with young kids and beyond, and we’re excited for what comes next."

London-based KARRI launched in December 2023, offering pre-orders initially to UK customers following two years of developing and prototyping. KARRI expects to ship its first finished products at the end of August 2024, with a full public launch to follow.