When it comes to raising children in today’s hyper-connected, always-on world, there’s no shortage of challenges for parents. With texting, email, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and the wider universe of social media applications, it can be a landscape fraught with peril, even for the most sophisticated users. Mix in increasingly younger users with everything that technology has to offer, and it can be a recipe for disaster.
Just ask any parents who have gone through the experience of raising teenagers who have smartphones, and you’ll get the same sense of worry when it comes to how to protect your children online. It’s not just anecdotal though. The numbers are just as revealing. According to DoSomething.org, over 80% of teenagers use cell phones regularly, with 43% of teenagers experiencing cyberbullying online (and almost one in four of those teens saying it has happened to them more than once). So what can you do?
Meet Bark, the smartest way to keep kids safe online. We’re big believers in consumer tech startups leveraging the latest advancements in machine learning to deliver better experiences and improve the lives of everyday consumers, and Bark does just that. Bark is an AI-powered consumer tech startup that plugs into your family’s iOS, Android, and Amazon mobile devices to proactively monitor and flag to parents potentially dangerous activity on text, email, and more than two dozen social media platforms.
To date, Bark has analyzed over one billion messages across those platforms, helping flag risks like cyberbullying, adult predators, suicidal thoughts, and sexting in a less invasive manner than other tools that require parents to review all activity in their teens’ accounts. In the process, they’ve also helped save 33 lives from immediate threats of self-harm, quash 12 bomb or shooting threats, and flag 135,000 incidents of cyberbullying. Earlier this year, their team also launched Bark for Schools, which is similarly empowering school systems around the country to help keep 1.7 million students safe by plugging into Google’s G Suite and Microsoft Office for education.
And this is only the beginning. We’re excited for this next chapter to watch Bark scale their reach even further, which is why we’re thrilled to announce today that we’re investing in Bark’s $9 million Series A financing alongside Signal Peak Ventures with and existing investors including Symmetrical Ventures, Fuel Capital, Hallett Capital, and Atlanta Seed Company.
Congrats to Brian Bason, Brandon Hilkert, Titania Jordan, and the whole team on Bark on the recent fundraise and exciting milestone. See more about Bark on CNBC earlier this week, check out their latest coverage in TechCrunchand VentureBeat, and make sure to help share the news on Twitter!