HOPSTER ANNOUNCES CEO LEADERSHIP TRANSITION
CHOJNACKA AND ELLIS PROMOTED TO CO-CEOWALTERS TO STEP DOWN & MOVE INTO ADVISORY ROLE -
London, 03 August 2020 –Hopster, the award-winning preschool educational and entertainment digital platform announced changes to its senior management team.
Nick Walters, Founder and CEO of Hopster will transition to an advisory capacity effective 1st July 2020 and will be stepping down from 6th September 2020 . Thereafter Walters will continue to consult for Hopster as board advisor. Miki Chojnacka, currently Chief Creative & Content Officer has been promoted to co-CEO alongside Tyrell Ellis, who has been serving as Chief Financial Officer since May 2020.
Bhav Singh, Chairman of Hopster & CEO of Sandbox, said “ I am very sad to see Nick leave. He has created a global, notable, multi-award winning educational product to help children learn that is loved by millions of families around the world. We wish Nick all the best for the future and are delighted to welcome Miki Chojnacka and Tyrell Ellis as co-CEOs to continue building the Hopster brand."
Nick Walters started Hopster in 2013 to transform the way preschoolers learn through digital media and during his tenure has seen the company grow from a start-up app, into a global SVOD platform active in over 100 countries, 8 languages and 10+ major partners around the world. In 2017 under his leadership the company created Hopster Studios Productions, a unit of Hopster that produces award-winning animated preschool TV shows, songs and games. Over the last seven years, Hopster has achieved award-winning status. The company was twice nominated for a BAFTA (Channel 2019) (Channel & Best game 2018) and has won multiple awards from Kidscreen and Apple. Hopster has secured #1 grossing kids app in 51 markets across the world* and is No 1 most downloaded kids app in the Apple App Store in 69 countries**.
Tyrell Ellis, has been appointed Co-Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect and joins Hopster with extensive financial experience working in publicly listed, private equity and venture backed technology companies. With a proven record in scaling organisations and providing financial and strategic planning to drive growth, Ellis will be responsible for managing investor relations whilst overseeing the operational, financial strategy to accelerate growth.
Miki Chojnacka has been promoted to Co-Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect and has been with Hopster since 2015 as the Chief Creative & Content Officer. Miki has 20 years of experience in the media and entertainment industries, having held senior executive roles in content, creative and strategy at MTV Networks, Viacom and Pearson. Miki will continue to oversee the brand, content and creative strategy and will be looking to further develop its original content, partnerships and global awareness.
Nick Walters, Founder of Hopster said: “While sad to be leaving Hopster, I’m incredibly proud of the team’s achievements since we first launched nearly seven years ago. With Miki and Tyrell taking the reins I couldn’t be leaving the company in better hands - and look forward to continuing to help in whatever way I can as they go on to help kids learn through the stories they love.”
Miki Chojnacka, co-CEO at Hopster said “In the last seven years, Nick has developed Hopster into an award-winning global brand with an incredible unique selling proposition that has never been more needed or relevant than it is today. I am immensely excited to be able to continue his work alongside Tyrell to grow the company and take Hopster to its next level."
Tyrell Ellis, co-CEO at Hopster said “Nick has created an incredible business and though we are sad to see him leave, both Miki and I strongly believe that we have the right team and product in place to build on our momentum and scale the business further in the years to come. By expanding our library of engaging content and focusing on progressive learning principles we feel we are well positioned to establish Hopster as the brand of choice for millennial parents to help their kids learn through the stories they love.”
In November 2019, Sandbox & Co. became a majority shareholder of Hopster, complimenting Sandbox's growing portfolio of award-winning digital learning products and services that reach in excess of 50m Millennial families and Kids which include CoolMathGames, Poptropica, Tinybop, Curious World, Family Education, Teacher Vision, Super Awesome, Fact Monster, InfoPlease and Funbrain.
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About Hopster – www.hopster.tv
Hopster is a beautifully designed app for the under-sixes, aiming to strike the perfect balance between learning and fun. For one low monthly subscription with no tie-ins, Hopster subscribers get access to a large selection of kid’s TV shows, stimulating learning games, nursery rhymes and music.
Hopster is trusted by millions of parents worldwide to keep their kids amazed with fun educational content in a safe and ad-free environment. It has topped the App Store charts in over 36 countries, was named Best Streaming Video Platform for preschoolers by Kidscreen as has received a channel nomination at the Children’s BAFTA in 2018 and 2019.
Hopster can be downloaded free from the App Store and Google Play and can be found on selected smart TVs such as Amazon Fire TV, EE TV and Roku in the UK, Roku Channels, Comcast Xfinity, DISH and Sling TV in the US and on many other platforms around the world.
Hopster Stats and Facts
About Nick Walters
Before founding Hopster, Walters spent six years at Viacom International Media Networks. Having joined Viacom as head of strategy and business development for the Emerging Markets region (Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa) he went on to serve as General Manager for Russia and CIS. As GM, he established Viacom’s first office in Russia and oversaw the launch of a series of channels, including Nickelodeon-HD and Nick Jr.Walters is a Children’s BAFTA Juror (2014) and was named as one of TechCityInsiders’s 100 people helping redefine digital business in Britain. He began his career in strategy consulting and holds a BA from the University of Oxford.
About Miki Chojnacka
Miki has 20 years of experience in the media and entertainment industries, having held
senior executive roles in content, creative and strategy at MTV Networks, Viacom and
Pearson. She has a strong track record of launching channels & brands, building winning
teams and products across the globe. For five years, held the role of Chief Creative Content Officer at Hopster before being promoted to Co-CEO.
About Tyrell Ellis
Tyrell Ellis joined Hopster as the Chief Financial Officer in May 2020 and was promoted to Co-CEO in July 2020 alongside Miki Chojnacka. Prior to joining Hopster, Ellis spent over 10 years in finance, holding senior management positions at publicly listed, private equity and venture backed technology businesses, including: goviral, Aol, Game Analytics and Mobvista. Having helped lead the sale of Game Analytics to Mobvista in 2016, Ellis has established a reputation for scaling companies by providing organisational, operational, strategic and commercial support to drive growth. Ellis co-founded and launched Space Republic, a PropTech start-up and is a Founding Trustee of Ithuba Foundation, a charity that supports underprivileged children by providing them with access to some of South Africa’s top educational institutions.
About Sandbox & Co
Sandbox. is a London-based millennial education company with engaging online products and services that make learning fun. At the intersection of the digital, learning and media industries, Sandbox brands embrace technological advancements, focus on globally relevant core subjects that centre on families’ interests and help develop 21st century skills. Sandbox & Co represents and strategically operates the Sandbox-controlled and invested entities – a suite of 10 brands, most of which are leaders in their own segment and have won several awards. Portfolio companies include CoolMathGames, Poptropica, Tinybop, Curious World, Hopster, Family Education, TeacherVision, Super Awesome, Fact Monster, InfoPlease and Funbrain. Sandbox is committed to providing an unparalleled ecosystem of edutainment products, and currently reaches over 50 million children, their millennial parents and teachers. For more information, please refer to the Sandbox & Co. website at www.sandboxandco.com.