A Kano Moment

The Kano journey is only beginning

04 May 2015

A note by our co-founder, Yonatan Raz-Fridman, shared with the team on the day that our fundraising and re-launch were announced.

In November 2012, Saul, Alex and I set the goal of a computer anyone can make, anywhere, inspired by the challenge from the 6-year old Micah. It was an idea a lot of people thought was irrelevant in an era where computing devices are in abundance and screens are everywhere, but we’ve decided to pursue this goal as we believed the world needs a new type of computer company – one that will empower the rising billion, the next generation of creators.

The past 30 months have been a roller-coaster. Everything moved fast, with a thrill that required us to persevere, be ready for the unknown and execute fiercely. In between my flights from Tel-Aviv to London, with Alex completing his masters in Cambridge, many hours and weekends of guidance and mentorship from Saul, and with the help of a talented Swedish designer name Tommy, we’ve made, sold and shipped 200 units of the Alpha version, straight from 8 Parkhill Road in London.

Over Ramen soup and after extensive search, in June 2013 we’ve recruited our first employee, Alejandro, who grew into the Head of Software role, helping us build the tech team which was instrumental in delivering the Kano OS. But before Kano OS came to life, we’ve launched the Kano Computer Kit on Kickstarter in what became one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all times, with an incredible teamwork, in-and-out of the building, reaching the hearts and minds of nearly 14,000 people from 86 countries.

And then, 18 months after shipping the Alpha version, in October 2014, we’ve shipped. Our first production ever recorded the number 18,000 – a massive first production of a first product we’ve ever released on large scale, by a team that have built their first ever product – we earned a WOW. It was the teamwork, the precision and the commitment that led us to achieve our 2014 objective: WE SHIP, IT WORKS, WOW.

Yes, we had a good start, and all of you should be proud of your exceptional execution and true commitment. Today though, I am thinking much more about Kano’s future. Over the next 10 years computing will be more personal than it ever was. We live in an era of accessibility where technology is everywhere, connectivity is almost ubiquitous and billions are eager to be relevant in the ever changing workforce landscape of the 21st century.

We, as Team Kano, can help. By building a new type of computer company, we help people to make a computer, learn to code and create the future – for themselves, their families and their communities – all over the world. Micah, Kelvin and Caine showed us how powerful their dreams can be, but now we have the beginning of a Kano Generation with little Ms. Innes, Scarlett & Holly, and empowering young African innovators in Kenya

Today marks the beginning of a new era for Kano. Together with launching the New Kano kit, we are also announcing a new round of funding – $15 million. What made this financing round so special is how we worked together, as a team, to accomplish something incredible. We’ve all played part regardless of what we’ve done on a day-to-day basis, because that’s the power of a team. We help each other, we support one another, and we keep the commitment to our mission. That is why we’ve been successful in bringing on board spectacular investors, and that’s what will help us build a meaningful global business.

Leading the round is Jim Breyer, one of the world’s leading investors who has invested and helped grow iconic companies like Dell, Facebook and Etsy, among others. This is what Jim Breyer has to say:

“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”. The process of locking down Jim started with an introduction by Jonathan Klein who was also instrumental in helping us close Jim with the back-stage guidance of Saul and others.

Also participating are Collaborative Fund and Jim O’Neill, a British economist who coined the term “BRIC”. But that’s not all.

With a tribute to our crowdfunding heritage, we are also raising up to $500,000 from our community through Quire, the equity crowdfunding platform from NYC. We will use the Quire platform to engage with our community and investors by previewing new features, soliciting feedback, and sharing updates. We also set aside a “Golden Share” amounting to 1% of the company’s undiluted equity for Kano Academy, our not-for-profit initiative for supporting making and creativity worldwide.

The spectacular work you’ve all been doing has led us to where we are, and we salute you. Together with the new funding, Kano is now better positioned to extend the product platform; scale the business in the US, UK, and enter new markets; build out the Kano brand and Academy; and continue to grow our multinational team. Real accessibility of technology to the majority of the world is still out of reach, and this is exactly our opportunity – to make “making” with technology accessible to anyone, anywhere, and making that experience fun like Lego.

Together, we have accomplished a lot in less than 30 months – that’s a very a short time. Yet with all respect to our past, which we should definitely remember and learn from, what matters the most is what happens from now. What matters the most is what we do next. The journey of building a new type of computer company is long, but as you’ve seen so far, it’s pretty damn exciting. Thank you for being part of this journey, and here’s to the next 30 months, and beyond.


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