Seattle startup that helps parents figure out what their kids are doing online lands cash


BrightCanary, a new Seattle startup that gives parents a better understanding of their children’s activity on apps such as YouTube and TikTok, raised a $4 million seed round.

Parents download the company’s app and log into each service used by their kids. They can have full access to all activity or get alerts when specific content categories are flagged, such as self-harm or weapons. No software is installed on the devices used by kids. The app is meant to complement monitoring tools such as Apple’s Screen Time or Android’s Family Link.

The company is led by Karl Stillner and Steve Dossick, who previously co-founded PushSpring, a Seattle startup that developed advertising technology and was acquired by T-Mobile in 2019.

Stillner pointed to two trends that BrightCanary is hoping to ride: an increasing number of children and young adults consuming content online, and concerns from parents about negative impact of smartphone use and potential unsuitable videos being watched.

“The name BrightCanary is a reference to the proverbial ‘canary in a coal mine,’ providing early warning of potential danger,” Stillner told GeekWire. “Bright is a metaphor for parents lighting the way for their kids.”

The 4-person company just launched earlier this year and is starting a private beta period. It plans to generate revenue via subscriptions.

BrightCanary recently hired Sarah Warn as vice president of growth; Warn previously held the same role at Seattle immigration services startup Boundless.

Seattle-area venture capital firm Trilogy Equity Partners led the round. Trilogy also backed PushSpring.

“Karl and Steve gained a deep understanding of the complex social media data landscape with their PushSpring experience, which we think gives them a unique ability to solve this problem in an innovative fashion,” said Chuck Stonecipher, managing director at Trilogy.

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