Building With k-ID: Safe Gaming & Internet for Kids, Teens, and Their Parents

Lightspeed joins k-ID as the Series A board director and partner in the company's quest to build the leading cross-platform, instant sign-on solution for kids and teens. An all-in-one answer for solving the complex global issues of privacy and online safety.

k-ID closes $45M Series A from Lightspeed Venture Partners and a16z to set a new global benchmark for age-appropriate gaming experiences, with participation from Konvoy, Okta, Tirta, and Z Ventures. This brings the total funding to date to $51M.

The case for k-ID

There are nearly a billion kids and teens globally that play games online. Hundreds of regulations affect their online experience, with more complex rules on the way. Regulators are vigorously enforcing these rules, with record fines and business-critical consequences. In the past two years alone, publishers, including Microsoft Xbox, Meta, and Google, have paid well over $2 billion in fines for violating kids’ privacy and safety.

Increasing regulatory attention provides tailwinds for k-ID and time pressure for publishers.

Today, children pay the price for publisher shortcomings: trolling, cyberbullying, exploitation, toxicity, harassment, grooming, and other forms of online abuse.

Solutions today have been bandaids rather than fixes, with publisher- or game-specific answers to what ultimately remains a complex, interoperable, and—most importantly—unsolved issue. k-ID takes a different approach.

The company is solving a significant, unsolved, and costly problem for a variety of stakeholders:

  • Publishers spend billions in legal fees each year in an attempt to be compliant; they want to avoid huge fines and minimize user checks that make their games uncompetitive.
  • Regulators are on a mission to keep children safe and are ready to utilize fines to force developer and publisher compliance.
  • Parents want transparency on what their kids are up to online and a solution that reduces friction—all while being easy to manage.
  • Kids, teens, and people under 25 who need to be verified want access to games; they have a sub-par experience (e.g., trolling, cyberbullying, toxicity, harassment, grooming, exploitation, etc.), get kicked off, or sometimes developers simply ignore laws and regulations (which is no longer commercially sustainable).
k-ID integrates seamlessly with game experiences, and allows parents to set maturity profiles for their kids and teens from a centralized platform.

Term sheets and diapers

Between k-ID’s global ambitions and Lightspeed’s commitment to building iconic companies, April was marked by a series of creative co-working sessions centered around business development, C-level networking & introductions, marketing & PR, executive talent & hiring, international policy work, and operations & execution advice.

But on a personal note, the month also marked the arrival of our daughter Skye, who entered this tiny rock floating in space on the day of the North American solar eclipse.

Signing the term sheet and joining the company’s board during this monumental month for our own family only made the investment even more meaningful.

Future k-ID customer Skye Zelda Baier-Lentz is already sporting the company's (age-appropriate) swag.

This latest of k-ID’s three funding rounds in less than nine months is driven by what we would consider unprecedented traction from leading publishers worldwide, including popular experiences from some of the largest public and private gaming companies across America, Europe, and Asia.

It’s evident that k-ID is solving a massive challenge not only for publishers—but for kids, teens, and their parents across the globe. Parenting, screen time, privacy, and safety are broken when it comes to age-appropriate gaming and internet experiences.

To find a team that combines impressive commercial traction with a unique founder-market fit and a genuine mission to drive scaled societal impact made this deal an opportunity that excited partners across our U.S., Europe, and Southeast Asian offices—and the first term sheet I sent in 2024.

As conviction-based investors, each of our partners teams up with only a few companies per year. This allows us to be with our portfolio companies in the trenches and continually earn our seat at the table.

A team on a mission

Founded by Kieran Donovan, Timothy Ma, Julian Corbett, and Jeff Wu, with a mission centered on youth empowerment, the k-ID team hails from the likes of Meta, Tencent, Google, Take-Two, and Electronic Arts, with deep expertise in games, legal compliance and trust and safety. The company emerged from stealth in March.

From left to right, k-ID Co-Founders: Timothy Ma, Jeff Wu, Kieran Donovan, and Julian Corbett.

Co-Founder and CEO Kieran Donovan, whose own childhood trauma was the motivation for k-ID, said:

“The time for change is now—today, the world demands safer, more empowered online experiences for youth. The groundswell of support from across the industry has been phenomenal. We are excited to accelerate our mission to bring privacy-preserving, youth-first technology that delivers on the societal imperative of empowering the next generation.”

k-ID is defining a new industry standard for digital youth safety.

Furthering its affiliation and support within the industry, k-ID also announced today a partnership with the ESRB Privacy Certified program. k-ID has configured its parent/family and developer portals to reflect the program’s COPPA-based requirements. This partnership offers game publishers a way to leverage k-ID technology to help obtain the ESRB Privacy Certified Kids Seal.

The k-ID suite of solutions operates cross-platform, covering iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Web, and TV.

The world is taking notice

Having had the outstanding honor of attending the Annual Meeting in Davos this January, I’ve told a few of my friends and colleagues how humbling the experience was. Not only on a personal level, but to set the gaming industry’s importance relativized against a backdrop of ‘bigger’ topics ranging from rapid technological change and much-needed policy work to economic uncertainty, a warming planet, and global conflict.

Gaming did, in fact, come up only twice during an entire week spent with public and private sector leaders. Yet, in both cases, not to digress about its global appeal or transmedia upside—but rather in the context of unsolved issues around parenting, age-appropriate experiences, and screentime.

Or, as my wife Alissa put it at the time:

“[Skye is] already playing a role, amplifying the meaning of our mission here: to build a hopeful, sustainable, and inclusive future. As parents-to-be, we’re feeling a heightened sense of responsibility to shape a world—both physical and digital—that she, and generations to come, will thrive in.”

Alissa & Moritz (and Skye) at the 'Schatzalp' in January 2024.

In this light, it brought us at Lightspeed particular joy to help connect two organizations we care about deeply: k-ID was recently selected as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer for 2024, joining the ranks of esteemed alumni, including early-stage Google and Airbnb.

k-ID is also attending the prestigious “Summer Davos” (the 15th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Dalian, China), including today’s private dialogue with Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and Li Qiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China.

k-ID was honored as one of this year's 100 new members of the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneers community.

Unprecedented publisher traction

Most of the company’s integrating partners—which include some of the largest public and private gaming companies across America, Europe, and Asia—remain under wraps for now.

But in addition to today’s Series A announcement, the company is also excited to unveil k-ID’s first publicly announced title, ‘Gorilla Tag,’ from pioneer Another Axiom—a game that recently topped $100M in revenue, making it one of VR’s most successful games ever and the most popular game on Quest VR.

This gorilla and hobby-horse afficionado is celebrating the game's $100M lifetime revenue milestone.

As with the other platforms, kids and teens make up the largest and fastest-growing segment for VR gaming today, and the technical hurdles for family tooling in VR are immense, from how to technically verify parents while their child is using a headset to regulatory complexity around the processing of VR and motion data.

Many more publishers (across PC, console, mobile, and VR) will be announced over the coming months.

Much more to come!



k-ID is a cross-platform, instant sign-on solution for kids and teens built as an all-in-one answer for solving the complex issue of privacy and online safety for young players on a global scale. Founded by internationally recognized experts and leaders in online safety, privacy, and gaming, k-ID also leverages insights from current and former regulators to maintain the world’s most dynamic youth compliance platform for game developers. k-ID allows kids and teens to access enriching, age-appropriate experiences while providing parents peace of mind. For more information, visit www.k-id.com.


ESRB Privacy Certified

ESRB Privacy Certified, a division of the non-profit Entertainment Software Rating Board, is an experienced, full-service, privacy certification and compliance program. It helps its members, mostly companies in the video game and toy industries, adopt and implement lawful, responsible, and transparent privacy practices. ESRB serves as one of six Federal Trade Commission-authorized Safe Harbor programs under the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Learn more at www.esrb.org/privacy/.


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Lightspeed is a globally leading venture capital firm across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, with over $29 billion under management. Over the past 20 years, Lightspeed has partnered with hundreds of exceptional entrepreneurs and helped build companies to achieve 200+ IPOs and acquisitions. In 2023, Lightspeed was ranked #1 gaming lead investor by deal volume.

With its dedicated gaming & interactive media practice, the firm invests from an over $6.5 billion pool of early and growth-stage capital—by far the largest set of funds in the sector. Lightspeed’s team combines deep gaming, consumer, and enterprise technology expertise with a global multistage investment platform and a culture that truly puts founders first. Focus areas are game studios (PC, console, mobile), interactive media platforms (social, UGC, distribution, streaming), and related technologies (AI/ML, 3D, engines, game development, AR/VR). For more information, visit gaming.lsvp.com.


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