Today, DIY computer company Kano announced a mass North American rollout into more than 4,500 retail stores, stocking its creative computing kits in every Best Buy and Target, select Walmart stores, Microsoft Stores, Jet.com and The Source, as well as existing partners Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Indigo and Toys R Us. This expansion is fueled by $28M in new funding.
The Series B round was led by the Thames Trust and Breyer Capital, with Index Ventures, the Stanford Engineering Venture Fund, LocalGlobe, Marc Benioff, John Makinson, Collaborative Fund, Triple Point Capital, and Barclays participating.
At more than 1,000 stores, Kano’s full line of all-ages computer and coding kits – including the new Pixel Kit, Motion Sensor Kit, and Computer Kit Complete – will be presented on interactive displays, both on shelves and on end-cap fixtures, heading up the new STEM category.
Kano shipped the first “computer anyone can make” in September 2014, and is now expanding its retail presence more than four-fold. Its kits are deployed in more than 1000 education programs worldwide. Its community of beginner developers, in 86 countries, many as young as six, have shared over 150,000 apps in the last year alone. These beginners spend 13.5 hours, close to Snapchat, on the company’s Computer Kits during the first 30 days. Kano describes itself as a new kind of computer company, focused on creation, not just consumption.
“Kano has grown into a category leader, with hardware and software that prepares all ages for the future,” said Jim Breyer, Founder and CEO of Breyer Capital. “The financing, expansion into mass retail, and new products will expose the unique Kano experience to millions more.”
“The opportunity for Kano and other creative, educational platforms like Codecademy and Roblox is growing,” said Danny Rimer, General Partner at Index Ventures.
“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,” said Alex Klein, Kano’s Co-founder and CEO. “The next generation is rising and ready to make their own technology.”
Kano is already collaborating with the Best Buy Foundation, bringing Computing Kits and workshops to schools and academies across North America as well as supporting the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s ConnectHome initiative, where it provides kits and digital literacy training to underserved communities. The company will also be participating in the Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faire on November 11th and 12th. All ages will be able to make their first computer and test the range of Kano kits at hundreds of participating stores.
Kano kits combine device building (computers, sensors, light boards) and creative coding with a free online community, available to makers across the globe. The product lineup ranges from the free Kano App and the $29.99 Motion Sensor Kits, to the $249.99 Computer Kit Complete, a build-your-own laptop. Kano is the only end-to-end system in the ed-tech category, and demystifies computing for all ages through simple steps, physical building, and play.
The Computer Kit, starting at $149.99, is the original build-your-own-computer. It comes with all the bits and books you need to make a powerful PC, and a suite of onboard software challenges, that let you explore the terminal, Hack Minecraft, make music, and build apps, leveling up as you go.
The $29.99 Motion Sensor Kit opens up infrared technology and lets you learn to code apps, music, and games, controlled with hand gestures. The $79.99 Pixel Kit is a DIY light board that lets you draw & code animations, interactive apps and art. You can try Kano Code, the most playful learn-to-code platform, here, and explore community creations here.
“The Source is very excited to be featuring Kano products as part of its gifting line up this holiday season. Not only are they fun but also introduce new skills and learning opportunities,” said Ron Craig, Vice President, Marketing and Operations at The Source.
“Best Buy Canada is excited to partner with Kano in bringing their computer building kits for youth to our stores,” said Zayn Jaffer, Best Buy Canada’s Vice President of Emerging Business. “These products will help youth learn about the physical and software components of computers, while providing invaluable educational skills in coding and programming. These skills are important for future generations to learn early on.”
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Inspired by a challenge from a 6-year-old, Kano creates computer and coding kits for all ages, all over the world. Its mission is to make technology as simple and fun to create as it is to consume. Kano launched the first computer anyone can make on Kickstarter in 2013 – it raised $1.5M, the largest ever ed-tech crowdfunding on the platform, with the backing of thousands of young people, artists, makers and teachers worldwide. It became the UK’s fastest growing tech startup in 2016 and Fast Company’s ninth most innovative company in consumer electronics in 2017.
The original build-and-code-your-own computer remains a crowd favorite, with 85% 5 star reviews on Amazon.com and a Net Promoter Score of 55. Kano also works with local communities to bring digital literacy to underserved areas in Africa, Asia, and North America.
The company has been boosted by the involvement and endorsements of customer Steve Wozniak, Pong inventor Al Alcorn, supermodel Karlie Kloss, athlete Novak Djokovic, artist Nile Rodgers, and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Its most recent product is the Computer Kit Complete, a powerful, educational build-your-own laptop for $249.
The London company was co-founded by Saul Klein, Yonatan Raz-Fridman and Alex Klein.
Kano 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).