Ben Drury, Co-Founder and CEO at Yoto Describes What He’s Looking For From ParentTech23 Entrants

Tell us about yourself & Yoto


I began my career in the digital music space so I’ve always had a passion for audio, but the real lightbulb moment that inspired Yoto came after my wife and I had kids. One day we were shopping for a buggy and were absolutely horrified when we saw one that came with an in-built iPad holder.

I’d worked with my Yoto co-founder Filip Denker in a previous job and we’d often talk about the challenges of modern parenting, including concerns around screen time for our children. Together we developed the concept of a screen-free, connected audio player that put kids in control, based on the Montessori approach and brought to life through simple, intuitive design.

Following a sold-out Kickstarter campaign in 2019, we launched the second generation Yoto Player the next year, which TIME Magazine named one of the Best Inventions of 2020. We went on to launch a portable version of the player, the Yoto Mini, in 2021, and last year we brought out the third generation Yoto Player which is packed with even more functionality, including a room thermometer, beautiful acoustically-engineered stereo sound and increased storage.

We now have a library of over 1,000 audio titles, including stories from the best children’s authors in the world, award-winning podcasts, learning activities, soundscapes, sleep sounds and music from the likes of The Beatles and Queen. We produce a huge amount of amazing audio ourselves with our Yoto Original content, but are also very proud to work with partners like Sony Music, Macmillan, Disney, PRH, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Roald Dahl Story Company and Universal Music Group.

The audio can be played through the parental app or by using individual cards that slot into the top of the players, and customers can also use our ‘Make Your Own’ cards (think of them like blank CDs), either with content they’ve recorded themselves (for example a grandparent reading a favourite bedtime story) or audio they already own.


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What are you looking for from this year’s ParentTech entrants?

I’d say I’m looking for teams that have a deep understanding of the many and varied needs of parents and carers in today’s hyper-connected world. Our children are growing up surrounded by technology and parents can be bombarded with conflicting solutions and advice; I’d like to see something that cuts through this noise and genuinely solves something that parents or carers might be grappling with.

I also really believe that for a kids’ product to be great, it needs to have been built from the ground up with them in mind.


Any advice for ParentTech23 entrants this year?


Be clear about what insight it was that lead you to developing your product or solution.

Showing how it solves a real and common problem in an innovative, accessible way is key and will help you rise above the rest.