Firm linked to wife of Steve Jobs backs Irish publisher

16th May 2016

Irish digital publisher StoryToys has received investment through a US-based company linked to businesswoman Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

The company, which makes educational and entertaining software aimed at children, revealed a $1 million investment by Amplify Education Partners in its most recently filed accounts in the Companies Office.

The investment was made in February 2016, outside the period covered by the accounts, which were for the year ended June 30th, 2015.

Amplify Education Partners was set up in 2012, formed from Wireless Generation, which media group News Corp acquired in 2010. The company remained a subsidiary of News Corp until 2015, when it was sold for an undisclosed sum to a group of private investors.

Major boost
Although the identity of the backers was not revealed at the time, it was later disclosed that Ms Powell Jobs was the lead investor behind the deal through the organisation she founded in 2004, Emerson Collective.

Emerson Collective is an advocate for education policies, social justice and immigration reform.

The funding will be a major boost to the Irish firm, which is planning to target the US market. Amplify’s software is aimed at the schools market in the US.

The accounts show that StoryToys continued to make a loss in 2015, with its accounts noting a loss of €441,666 for the year, compared with a loss of almost €928,0000 the previous year.

The company had net assets of almost €440,000 in 2015. It employs 20 people, with staff costs of more than €1 million disclosed in the accounts.

“The directors acknowledge that the company continues to make losses; however, the directors are confident that investment is available to the company and on this basis the directors are satisfied that the company can continue to trade on a going concern basis,” a note on the accounts said.

The StoryToys accounts also disclosed a €145,000 investment in the firm by Value Create and EMKM in September last year.

StoryToys previously raised €2 million in two separate seed-funding rounds.