With 135 current team members on its payroll, Bark Technologies has more than doubled its headcount over the last two years.
Now, the Atlanta-based team is nearly doubling the amount of outside investment it has in on its books. Bark announced this week the close of a $30 million Series C round, led by Los Angeles-based Kayne Partners.
This brings Bark’s total funding to $67 million since its launch in 2015.
Bark raised its $26 million Series B just a few weeks before the WHO declared COVID as a global pandemic. Previous Southeast-based investors in the startup include Moseley Ventures, Atlanta Seed Company, The JumpFund, and Techstars Atlanta.
That growth is necessary because the threat Bark is trying to solve for continues to grow exponentially. Bark’s platform helps parents and schools proactively monitor a child’s online activity via text messages, social media, or other popular apps.
Threats are constantly evolving as new platforms gain popularity, Bark’s CMO Titania Jordan told Hypepotamus. It is not just about monitoring what a kid views on YouTube. Today, parents have to worry about content being shared on dozens of platforms, be it Kik, Tumblr, Houseparty, Discord, Twitter, Reddit, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Instagram, or others.
“There are new online concerns daily – most recently, the rise in dangers appearing on Discord (a platform many parents have never heard of) – is a top concern. Additionally, the continued increase in reports of online predation and suicidal ideation of children continues to drive our efforts,” she added.
The pandemic sparked new challenges for both parents and teachers relying on Internet-enabled devices for education, entertainment, and communication with kids and teens.
The latest statistics Bark has collected give a sobering view of what threats are out there. The startup’s 2021 annual report suggests instances of online bullying, violence, predatory acts, and signs of mental health struggles skyrocketed over the last year.
The Bark team has been hard at work the last two years keeping kids safe in an increasingly online world. In 2020 they partnered with enterprise mobility experts Stratix to help bridge the e-learning Digital Divide during the pandemic. They have also been creating their own content to ensure parents can best support their children and catch early warning signs of potentially dangerous situations.
The startup’s technology is currently used in U.S., Guam, South Africa, and Australia, and to date keeps 6 million kids safe online. The new funding round will help Bark grow into additional international markets. Those market expansions will be determined by demand and what wireless and ISP partners are available, Jordan added.