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$28m Series B for Kano’s B2C education offer

publication date: Nov 30, 2017

London-based start-up Kano has raised $28m in a Series B round led by the Thames Trust and Breyer Capital, with additional participation from Index Ventures, the Stanford Engineering Venture Fund, LocalGlobe, Marc Benioff, John Makinson, Collaborative Fund, Triple Point Capital, and Barclays.

Co-founded by Saul Klein, Yonatan Raz-Fridman and Alex Klein, and launched via a $1.5m Kickstarter campaign in 2013, Kano is a $150 DIY computer kit based on a Raspberry Pi core, designed to encourage children to learn how to build and code their own technology. The company raised $15m in a Series A round in Spring 2015, and claims that its kits - which now range from a $29.99 Motion Sensor Kit, to a $249.99 ‘build-your-own laptop’ set - are deployed in more than 1,000 education programmes worldwide, and that its growing global community of beginner developers, some as young as six, have shared over 150,000 apps in the last year alone.

The company says this latest $28m raise will fund a large-scale roll-out into more than 4,500 stores across North America, including Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Microsoft Stores, and The Source, as well as existing partners, Barnes & Noble, Indigo and Toys R Us.

Commenting on Kano’s raise, CEO Alex Klein said: “We believe that the time has come for a new kind of computing, premised on people’s need to understand and shape the world around them - not just swipe, tap, and wait for the latest similar-looking screen. The next generation is ready to make their own technology.”

Kano’s announcement coincided with news of two other significant investments in B2C products, indicating a growing trend for parents to supplement their children’s technology education, and fill a perceived gap in school provision. In late October 2017, San Mateo-based Wonder Workshop, announced a $41m Series C round to further develop the consumer market for its CleverBots, Dash, Dot, and Cue, which guide children’s exploration of STEM principles through science, coding and problem-solving activities. The round included new investments from Tencent Holdings, TAL Education Group, MindWorks Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, Softbank Korea, and VTRON Group, plus participation from existing investors.

Also in October 2017, San Francisco-based Piper closed a $7.6m Series A round, led by Owl Ventures, to expand its range of DIY computer building kits for children, bringing its total raise to more than $10m since it was founded in 2014.

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