DIY ‘kids tech' computer company Kano announced today it has raised $28 million in funding in a Series B round.
It brings the total raised by Kano to $45 million, including the traditional venture round of $15 million, as well as an earlier Kickstarter campaign that raised $1.5M and is the largest ever ed-tech crowdfunding on the platform.
The capital injection comes at a perfect time – just ahead of the holidays, when the startup is spearheading a mass retail rollout into more than 4,500 retail stores, stocking its creative computing kits in every Best Buy, Target, Microsoft, Jet.com, The Source and select Walmart stores, as well as existing partners Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Indigo and Toys R Us.
The investment also comes at a time of significant momentum as well, with the company moving into new categories of computing and consumer technology to develop future products.
Currently, the company that teaches kids and adults about computers and coding by way of a variety of do-it-yourself hardware building kits, has 141,000 Kano devices connected to its network since shipping its first “computer anyone can make” in September 2014.
Its ‘kids tech' kits are deployed in more than 1000 education programs worldwide. Its community of beginner developers, in 86 countries, many as young as six, have written 227,000 apps using those devices. The company claims time engaged in Kano communities is on par with Snapchat with an average of 13.5 hours in 30 days.
Kano hopes it can boost the number of actual users by making it easier to get its hardware such as its $249 build-it-yourself laptop, hence the financing, expansion into mass retail, and new products.
Part of Kano’s aggressive expansion is perhaps down to the company trying to cement its place as the go-to brand for kids tech computer kits.
It has grown into a category leader, with hardware and software that prepares all ages for the future. However, they are facing increasing competition in the space as there are quite a few would-be competitors that have emerged.
Just earlier this week Wonder Workshop, which makes ‘chatty robots’ to learn about computers and coding, raised $41 million. And pi-top, another Raspberry-Pi-based computing startup out of London, recently released a DIY laptop.
But Kano kits combine creative coding and device building with a free online community available to makers worldwide.
The ‘kids tech' company aims to demystify the computing experience for all ages through simple steps, physical building, and play, as well as to get people to think more about what goes into making technology work the way it does.
Unlike other ‘kids tech' toys, Kano kits let beginners build real devices, and offer a range of learn-to-code environments that transitions makers from block based on real text coding into collaborative coding on the Kano World community platform that has over 200,000 applications and over 33 million lines of code uploaded.
In just four years since it was founded, Kano has won several awards: it is the recipient of the first-ever Cannes Lion for Product Design, Gold; the Red Dot Product Design Award; the Edison Award in Gaming/Computing, Gold; the German Design Award, Gold; the International Design Society of America, Silver; the Webby Award and People’s Voice Award; The International Design Excellence Award, Silver; and D&AD (In Book Award).