NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kano, the computer you build and code yourself, launched the new version of its computer kit today at the technology conference TechCrunch Disrupt. Now powered by the Raspberry Pi 2, the New Kano is six times faster, and loaded with games and projects that are learned, made, and played with code. Kano also introduced the Powerup Kit, an extension pack that turns the Raspberry Pi 1 into a programmable lightshow, and upgrades the Kano to six-fold speeds.
Driving the product extension is a new round of Series A funding, led by Breyer Capital, with participation from Collaborative Fund and Jim O'Neill, British economist and former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
“There are over 8 billion connected devices in the world, but only 50 million people know how to talk to them. It should be simple and fun for anyone, anywhere to make and play with technology – beyond the sealed screen. Code can be a creative art, and it starts with our new computer that anyone can make,” said Alex Klein, co-founder and chief product officer of Kano.
Kano will raise up to $500,000 of its new round from its community through Quire, the equity crowd-funding platform out of Betaworks. Even after the round ends, Kano will use the Quire platform to engage with its community and investors by previewing new features, soliciting feedback, and sharing updates. Kano plans to set aside a “Golden Share” amounting to 1% of the company’s undiluted equity for Kano Academy, its not-for-profit initiative for open, affordable making worldwide. The funding round will be used for extending the product platform; scaling the business in the United States, United Kingdom, and new markets; building out Kano's brand and the Kano Academy; and continuing to grow its multinational team.
“We’re building a computer company to empower the rising billion, the next generation of creators. We are thrilled to welcome Jim Breyer who has invested and helped grow iconic companies like Dell, Facebook and Etsy, among others. Together with our passionate team and strong support network of investors and advisors, we are committed to Kano’s mission, and look forward to adding ambitious new team members and strong partners from all over the world to help,” said Yonatan Raz-Fridman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Kano.
“Kano is enabling and empowering the next generation of innovators with a truly delightful educational product that makes basic computing skills accessible for all. The global opportunity for Kano, and the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of young people around the world, is enormous. I am proud to support Kano at this exciting time in the company’s development,” said Jim Breyer, founder and chief executive officer of Breyer Capital.
The New Kano has new creative projects. There’s Make Art, a digital easel to learn code by painting characters and fractals – it can be played through the web on any device – and Terminal Quest, a narrative adventure controlled with command-line Linux “spells.” Kano’s game-based coding arena, Kano Blocks, now comes with new code blocks and challenges to make water slides and wooden towers in Minecraft, to build sounds and graphics in Pong, and to program characters and backgrounds from the Moshi Monsters franchise.
The New Kano can be ordered now at http://www.kano.me for $149 with free shipping for May delivery.
Onstage, Klein also debuted the Powerup Kit, an exclusive new pack that current customers and Raspberry Pi 1 users can pre-order for $89 with free shipping. The Powerup Kit upgrades the Kano to the Raspberry Pi 2, and repurposes the Raspberry Pi 1 into an Internet of Things toolkit for beginners. It comes with a step-by-step storybook to learn electronics and networking through maker projects: a Minecraft server, a Pac-Man game, an LED alarm clock, and more.
The New Kano is powered by the latest version of Kano OS, and current customers can get it with a quick on-kit software update. The OS is free and open-source and works on both Raspberry Pi 1 and 2. In addition, Kano’s social world (Kano World) has new code-learning projects, with full parental controls, for kids to build their own WhatsApp client, Minecraft scrapbook, and personal Kano characters.
Inspired by a challenge from a 7-year-old, Kano is a computer anyone can make, with simple steps, playful projects, and creative tools – for anyone who wants to make technology, not just consume it. Kano launched on Kickstarter in 2013 and developed with the help of hundreds of young people, artists, and teachers worldwide. Kano was co-founded by Saul Klein, Yonatan Raz-Fridman and Alex Klein and has raised $15 million in Series A funding from Breyer Capital, Collaborative Fund, Jim O’Neill, and the crowd. Seed investors include Index Ventures, James Higa, Troy Carter and Shana Fisher, among others. To learn more or get a Kano kit, please visit http://www.kano.me.
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; D&AD (In-Book Award);.
About Breyer Capital
Breyer Capital is a global venture capital and private equity investor focused on catalyzing high-impact social and for-profit entrepreneurs. Founded by Jim Breyer in 2006, we are passionate about making long-term, idea-driven strategic investments that support businesses and social entrepreneurs who share our commitment to making a difference. For more about Breyer Capital, please visit http://www.breyercapital.com/
Quire is where communities become owners of the companies they love, investing alongside venture capital firms they trust . The most-promising venture-backed companies—such as Giphy, DOTS, and Gimlet Media—have used Quire to raise funding from their users, players, listeners, partners and fans. Quire believes that, over time, community ownership will lead to more profitable and lasting organizations. The company was founded in 2014 out of Betaworks, the New York-based startup studio behind Digg, Bitly, Instapaper, Giphy, DOTS and other leading technology companies.