Hoop co-founders Daniel Bower and Max Jennings

App for millennial parents raises £2.4m

Hoop, the app which helps time-poor parents book activities for their kids, has raised £2.4m from a funding round led by BGF Ventures.

Hoop, the family app that helps parents discover and book what’s on for their kids, will use the funds to grow the business across the country and begin to focus on revenue growth.

UK-focused fund BGF Ventures is the lead investor in the funding round. Other investors include ustwo, the company behind Monument Valley.

The app helps families discover fun things they’ll love to do in just a few taps.

Through personalised lists of events and classes, Hoop identifies those activities best suited for children based upon their age, location and interests.

From local baby and toddler groups and family concerts to drama classes and creative workshops, Hoop makes it easy to uncover and book fun things going on for families.

Launched in 2016 in London, Hoop has rapidly expanded this year to cover the whole of Britain, now listing more than 50,000 different activities each month.

With 600,000 parents using the app, businesses that run activities for children have a digital marketing platform to reach new customers. 

Hoop taps into the multi-billion pound market for family activities and was founded by the entrepreneurs behind VoucherCodes, Europe’s largest coupon business, acquired by a US voucher business in 2011.

This summer Hoop also introduced its organiser platform, allowing activity providers to manage their presence and take bookings on the app.

More than 4,000 family organisers have signed up to the platform so far. Hoop takes a 10% commission of all bookings that are made through the app.

The app responds to the needs of a new generation of parents that manage their life on a smartphone. Daniel Bower, co-founder of Hoop, said: “Parents want to find interesting, fun and affordable things their kids will love to do.

“Until now it’s been easy to miss great things happening locally because there’s no easy way to uncover new events and activities. Hoop solves this problem.

“We believe that the influence of smartphones on modern families is going to increase significantly in the next few years as more Millennials become parents for the first time.

“This new generation of parents blend technology seamlessly into their lives and are confident using apps to manage their day to day life.

“They have grown up using Deliveroo, Uber and WhatsApp to organise their lives, and want to manage their family time in the same way, expecting information to be accessible at a moment’s notice.”

The average age of a first time mum in the UK is just over 30 and since new parents are older they often have more money to spend on activities and hobbies.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Millennial parents value experiences and activities more than accumulating items.

That is reflected in the increasing number of new and interesting experiences that are being listed on Hoop, like the Family Bollywood session in Bristol, a robot programming workshop in Liverpool and Junior Jam’s african drumming and singing session in Manchester.

Harry Briggs, a partner at BGF Ventures, added: “Hoop is far and away the best mobile app for solving the age-old question of “What shall we do with the children that’s fun, interesting and doesn’t break the bank?”.

“Hoop are one of those rare teams who not only have the talent and focus to build a revolutionary product, but also are on a mission to make family time more rewarding on a global scale. 

“We’re incredibly excited to be joining them on that journey.”