Kids Social Net, Toy Maker Smoodoos Invested For Internationalisation

Just Us & Friends, operator of kids social network Smoodoos, has got a first-round investment of an undisclosed size from Earlybird, designed to grow the site outside its native Germany. The colourful Munich-based site offers blogs, Habbo Hotel-like avatar chat and “club” spaces to discuss interests.

The kicker – Smoodoos sells the bear-like Smoodoo avatars as cuddly plush toys in toy stores, each carrying access to the site’s premium features through an access code. The toys were named toy of the year by the Familie&Co magazine.

Smoodoos had got seed funding from husband-and-wife founders Saskia and Justus Schneider, who started the site in 2006 in response to their own kids’ play requirements, plus angels Tino Schöninger and Yulian Patzelt. It claims its security system disallows adults from the environment. Release.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a lot like Webkinz, the plush toy phenom from Ganz that come with access to a virtual online world.