Bark, an app which uses advanced machine learning to keep children safe online, raised $9 million in a Series A round, which it will use to broaden its product offering and establish a presence in new markets.
In a statement, the company explained it identifies and alerts parents to potential threats including cyberbullying; internet predators; depression; and suicidal thoughts in their children’s text messages, social media accounts and emails.
It claimed it had analysed over 1 billion messages, helped save 33 people from “imminent suicide” and played a part in thwarting “12 school shooting and bomb threats”.
Bark is available for $9 per month per family.
Following a high school shooting in Florida earlier this year, Bark began offering its platform for free to any school using Google’s G Suite for Education and Microsoft Office 365 Education.
The funding round was led by Signal Peak Ventures, with participation from Two Sigma Ventures and existing investors including Symmetrical Ventures, Fuel Capital, Hallett Capital, and Atlanta Seed Company.
A report by TechCrunch said Bark claimed it does not invade childrens’ privacy: “Children are already giving access to their personal data to companies like Apple, Google, Instagram, Snapchat and more.”
Based on the 1 billion messages the app processed, 66 per cent of teens have experienced cyberbullying; 54 per cent have engaged in conversations about depression or anxiety; and 40 per cent have encountered violent subject matter, TechCrunch added.