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Earlybird invests in children's community
Technology investor supports international growth path

Earlybird today announced an investment in just us & friends GmbH located in Munich and Kirchheim unter Teck, operator of This makes Earlybird the first institutional investor following seed financing provided by Business Angels Tino Schöninger and Yulian Patzelt and founders Saskia and Justus Schneider. The social network is to become the first secure community exclusively for children. Smoodoos soft toys are available in toyshops and offer premium access to the internet community up to the age of 16 which come with with the help of a secret access code. Through its investment, Earlybird aims to secure the network's growth on an international level.

Current research by the University of Cologne has revealed that 38 percent of all youngsters are unintentionally confronted with unwanted content when chatting on the internet. Smoodoos will be the first community to offer children secure chatting and playing. Thanks to a new, comprehensive security system, adults are not allowed permanent access to the community or private contact with children. Furthermore, the modern designs of the cute soft toys and the website set them apart from the usual children’s offers because children and their artistic standards are taken seriously.

Dr. Christian Nagel, Partner with Earlybird, will support the web company in an advisory function. 'From our perspective, our role is not limited to an investor; we also want to be a sounding board for the set-up of the company and the planned internationalization of' Justus Schneider, Smoodoos founder and former Head of Global Marketing at Mercedes-Benz, is satisfied: 'With their exceptional track record and global expertise, Earlybird is just the right partner for us.'

The strong management team, the innovative concept and its solid implementation convinced not only toy stores and Earlybird, but also the editors of German family magazine 'Familie&Co'. On 9th June, they nominated Smoodoos for the 'Goldenes Schaukelpferd - Spielzeug des Jahres' (toy of the year) award. With a broad publicity campaign including TV spots, Smoodoos will now raise their profile among parents and children.

About just us & friends (

just us & friends GmbH & Co KG, located in Munich and Kirchheim unter Teck, was established in 2006 by Saskia und Justus Schneider, who were inspired by the online activities of their three children. Before founding Smoodoos, Justus Schneider was Head of Global Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars. The team of founders and shareholders also includes Smoodoos designer Janina Fey and website designer Eric Singhartinger. Information for parents and press:

About Earlybird (

Earlybird Venture Capital, established in 1997, is one of Europe’s leading technology investors. Earlybird seeks to invest in companies led by outstanding people who are building technology enabled scalable companies for fast growing international markets. Earlybird invests primarily in early stage technology companies with a large business perspective, sourced from German speaking countries as well as the Nordics, France, Benelux and selectively the UK. The current investment focus includes software, semiconductor, communication, internet services, cleantech and medtech.

The Earlybird team creates value by understanding their target investment sectors well, adding their operational, entrepreneurial and financial expertise and working closely with each management team. Earlybird strongly supports the development of each company by professionalizing and shaping management teams, providing strategic and product advice, creating international investor syndicates, effecting corporate introductions and being closely involved in achieving appropriate exits.

Six of Earlybird’s high-tech investee companies have floated on various European stock exchanges: Interhyp, Tipp24 and Wilex (all Prime Standard, Frankfurt), Esmertec (Swiss Exchange, Zurich), Entelos (London Stock Exchange) and NoemaLife (Borsa Italiana, Milan). In addition, Earlybird supported element 5 in its acquisition by Digital River, Identify in its acquisition by BMC Software, Alantos in its sale to Amgen for $300 million, AbaXX in its sale to Cordys, amaxa in its acquisition by Lonza and in its sale to

Press contact just us & friends:

Griffiths Consulting
Ulrica Griffiths
Stieglitzweg 33
81827 Munich
Tel.: +49 (0)89 17 92 87 81
Fax: +49 (0)89 17 92 87 83

Press contact Earlybird:
Daniela von Wedel
Earlybird Venture Capital
Van-der-Smissen Str. 3
22767 Hamburg
Tel.: +49 40 432941-0
Fax: +49 40 432941-29

Publisher Contact Information:

+49 40 43 29 410

Company profile of Earlybird
Past press releases of Earlybird.


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