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UKTV Ventures strikes first investment deal with Hopster

UKTV has struck its first deal through its innovation fund, UKTV Ventures, with an airtime-for-equity investment in kids TV app Hopster.

UKTV launched The Innovation Fund in April 2017 in partnership with Channel 4’s Commercial Growth Fund to invest and take equity stakes in businesses in return for advertising airtime on UKTV channels.

Hopster will be the first business to benefit from this investment. The kids TV app blends entertainment and education with content designed to develop kids’ core early years skills.

UKTV has appointed Sheena Amin to spearhead the fund as director of business development and diversification.

Amin will be responsible for UKTV Ventures and lead the development of new capabilities and revenue streams by enhancing UKTV’s core business and diversifying beyond it. She will report directly to Simon Michaelides, UKTV’s chief commercial officer.

Michaelides said: “TV advertising remains the most efficient and effective marketing medium, with the highest spend coming from businesses in the digital sector. We’re very pleased to help high potential companies like Hopster gain access to the growth opportunity that TV brings, and we look forward to being part of the growth story for even more innovative, young businesses in the future.”

Amin added: “I am delighted to have joined UKTV and to have the opportunity to play such a pivotal role in shaping the company’s growth and diversification strategy over the years to come. My first priority will be to develop UKTV Ventures – raise awareness of our unique proposition, define our investment strategy and build a strong team.

“We’re off to a great start with our first investment in Hopster and I look forward to partnering with many more innovative startups to help them create a strong brand, acquire new customers and grow their business to the next level.”