Kano, the company behind the popular DIY computing and coding kits, has raised $28 million in a series B round of funding led by the Thames Trust and Breyer Capital, with participation from Index Ventures, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, the Stanford Engineering Venture Fund, LocalGlobe, John Makinson, Collaborative Fund, Triple Point Capital, and Barclays.
Founded out of London in 2013, Kano wants to teach people of all ages how to build a computer using its range of DIY kits, which are underpinned by an open coding platform. By combining the kits, it’s possible to build just about anything (within reason), including fully functioning PCs, radios, games, Minecraft hacks, and more. The Computer Kit, for example, is a $150 build-your-own computer that ships will all the pieces and guidelines you need to make a working PC.
As with similar companies in the DIY computer realm, Kano is touting its technology as the ultimate enabler of engagement and creation over passive consumption.
“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 Kano cofounder and CEO Alex Klein. “The next generation is rising and ready to make their own technology.”
Before now, Kano had raised around $16.5 million in funding, and with its latest cash injection the company plans to launch new products and double down on its expansion into the retail realm.
At the time of Kano’s $15 million series A raise in 2015, its products weren’t available to buy in any U.S. retail stores. But over the past couple of years, they’ve been made available on Amazon, Toys R Us, and Barnes & Noble, and in around 1,000 stores across the U.S. Now, however, the company has revealed a massive retail rollout that will cover Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Microsoft stores, as well as Jet.com, and many others. All told, this expansion will bring Kano’s products to around 4,500 retail stores across North America.
The DIY makers market has emerged as big business in recent years. Last month, San Francisco-based Piper announced a $7.6 million funding round to expand its DIY computer kits for kids, while snap-together electronics maker LittleBits raised $44 million a couple of years back. Elsewhere, Raspberry Pi has blazed a trail in the DIY computer realm, and it regularly features as part of many DIY kits, including those from Kano.
“Kano has grown into a category leader, with hardware and software that prepares all ages for the future,” added Breyer Capital founder and CEO Jim Breyer. “The financing, expansion into mass retail, and new products will expose the unique Kano experience to millions more.”