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News: Sandbox Partners announces acquisition of Family Education Network

June 2015

Sandbox Partners announced today the acquisition of “edutainment” network FEN (Family Education Network) from Pearson, the world’s leading learning company. FEN has one of the largest integrated digital audiences of children, parents and teachers totalling 25 million visits per month.

Poptropica, one of FEN’s key properties, is a globally leading children’s online world, with over 3.2 million monthly unique users in 200 countries and territories. Aimed at six to 15 year olds, it was created in 2007 by world­-renowned children’s author Jeff Kinney, best known for his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, who remains at Poptropica as creative director.

Sandbox Partners invests in companies at the intersection of the digital, learning and media industries, and has a long track-record of transforming and scaling business and brands internationally. Sandbox differentiates itself by providing long­-term strategic and operational support to businesses, making investments in complementary content, platforms and brands in order to build a sustainable ecosystem.

Bhav Singh, Founder & CEO of Sandbox Partners commented: “Engaging digital media and informal learning for kids are spaces we are hugely passionate about, so FEN was a clear choice. There is massive potential in the kids’ edutainment space, especially in game­-based learning, and we’re excited about growing FEN together with Jeff Kinney’s creative guidance and Jess Brallier’s leadership, and helping to bring the brands to new markets.”

Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and creative director at Poptropica, said: “It’s a big day for Family Education Network and I’m proud to be part of this next chapter. The Sandbox team truly understands the informal learning space, what kids want, and how important it is to reach out to parents and teachers at the same time. They will support us with establishing Poptropica as a consumer storytelling brand for all media, languages, territories, and delivery devices, for generations to come, and I’m delighted that in time we’ll be seeing the stories and characters from FEN brought to life on the big screen.”

In addition to Poptropica, Family Education Network comprises leading destinations for parents, teachers and students such as Funbrain, Funbrain Jr., Infoplease, Fact Monster, and Family Education. Sandbox Partners’ most recent investment was UK­-based edtech company Hopster, a TV and learning app for children, named by Apple as one of the best apps of 2014. The fast­growing company recently launched on Apple TV allowing customers to seamlessly move among iPhone, iPad and large screen TV. Sandbox also provided Hopster support in its recent international expansion initiative.