Kano, the innovative coding and computer kit startup, raises $28m from Marc Benioff, Stanford's VC arm, Index Ventures, LocalGlobe and more

Lynsey Barber
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Kano co-founder Alex Klein believes young people want to make their own technology (Source: Getty)

An innovative tech company that creates computer kits for kids to help teach them how to code has raised fresh investment.

Kano has landed $28m in a series B round from a string of well-known investors, including Salesforce entrepreneur Marc Benioff and the venture fund of Stanford University's engineering department, one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Thames Trust and Breyer Capital led the round and also participating were Index Ventures, LocalGlobe, Barclays, Triple Point Capital and Collaborative Fund and John Makinson, the former director of the National Theatre and chief executive of publisher Penguin who is also Kano's chairman.

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The fresh cash injection comes as it makes a major move into North America, with its range of computer kits hitting the shelves at thousands of Best Buy and Target stores across the country as well as selected Walmart and Microsoft stores.

"Kano has grown into a category leader, with hardware and software that prepares all ages for the future," said Breyer Capital chief executive Jim Breyer, who previously invested in the company.

Index Ventures General Partner Danny Rimer said: "The opportunity for Kano and other creative, educational platforms like Codecademy and Roblox is growing."

The latest round - understood to be the largest raised by a European hardware startup this year - brings the total raised to date to around £45m after initally turning to Kickstarter for funding.

Kano has recently added several new products to its range in recent months: a build your own laptop, a motion sensor device and Pixel, a device with multi-coloured flashing lights. Kids can learn how to control them by learning the right commands.

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“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 co-founder and chief executive Alex Klein.

“The next generation is rising and ready to make their own technology,” he added.

Investment in technology related to education - edtech - is expected to rebound this year after a decline. CB Insights forecasts $2.9bn going into the sector by the end of the year globally,

And the UK is the centre of edtech investment across Europe with recent estimates putting the number of companies working in this area equal to that of fintech.

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