DIY computer kit company Kano clinches $28m Series B

Young Gun-founded company set to roll out to 4,500 retail stores across North America including Best Buy, Target, and Walmart

Kano, the DIY computer kit company, has closed $28m in a Series B funding round led by Thames Trust and Breyer Capital.

Index Ventures, the Stanford Engineering Venture Fund, LocalGlobe, Marc Benioff, John Makinson, Collaborative Fund, Triple Point Capital, and Barclays also participated.

Founded by Young Guns Yonatan Raz-Fridman and Alex Klein, Kano launched its operation on the back of a $1.5m Kickstarter in 2013, before shipping its first build-your-own computer kit in September 2014. It had a pre-order list of 13,000 customers across 80 countries.

Read more about Raz-Fridman’s story in: Immigrant entrepreneurs behind fantastic UK businesses

The Computer Kit, which starts at $149.99, contains everything needed to build a PC, as well as a suite of onboard software challenges that take makers from block based to real text coding, including Python, JavaScript and Unix commands.

Its collaborative coding community platform Kano World has already seen 200,000 applications and more than 33 million lines of code uploaded to date from members as young as six in 86 countries.

Currently available in more than 1,000 retail stores, Kano’s full range of kits includes the Pixel Kit, Motion Sensor Kit, and Computer Kit Complete.

This funding will enable the company to begin a mass roll out into more than 4,500 stores across North America including Best Buy, Target, select Walmart stores, Microsoft Stores, Jet.com and The Source, alongside existing partners Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Indigo and Toys R Us.

Already used in more than 1,000 education programmes worldwide, Kano’s kits promote digital literacy training in workshops, schools, academies, and underserved communities.

Kano was one of 26 technology companies to join Tech City UK’s Future Fifty programme in February 2017, which supports and celebrates the UK’s most promising growth stage businesses.

Klein commented: “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 rising and ready to make their own technology.”

Jim Breyer, founder and CEO of Breyer Capital, said: “Kano has grown into a category leader, with hardware and software that prepares all ages for the future. The financing, expansion into mass retail, and new products will expose the unique Kano experience to millions more.”