As focus shifts from DIY computer kits, Kano spins its creative software suite as a standalone business TechCrunch

Kano Computing (“Kano”), and Supported project company best fame For DIY computer kits and software for Coding education And turning off Skills for Kids spins the creative software suite and online community platform as an independent company.

The move comes as the British company has shifted its focus away from its build-your-PC roots in pursuit of long-term profitability and sustainability.

Founded in London in the year 2013Kano has introduced several products to the market over the years designed to teach children the basic building blocks of computing. This includes Major Modular computers based on Raspberry Pias well as accessories such as Harry Potter coding set Packed with a physical magic wand that works across most platforms.

Harry Potter Kano wand Image creditsKano Computing

Kano Effects About $45 million in funding over the years, from notable backers Including Microsoft that I worked with Kano To develop Windows PC back in 2019, marking a remarkable breakthrough From the roots of the Raspberry Pi. However, the company has clearly been struggling in the past few years, off the shelves plans To bring Disney-branded products to market and Announcing a round of layoffs As part of the “restructuring efforts”.

In its last fiscal year, Kano mentioned Pre-tax loss of £10.1m ($12m) – an improvement on last year’s loss of £16.8m, but a loss nonetheless. Although it is still possible to purchase some old products From the good old days Through AmazonObviously, Kano has been moving away from the products it’s known for, toward a range of “Stem”-branded consumer devices covering audio and video.

STEM sells

a Just over a year ago, Kano partnered with Kanye West Launch Stem Playera music device that allows users to isolate and remix individual elements of songs.

But with the West Showing his anti-Semitic colors on me more than suitableKano revealed back in november that she was cutting ties with the rapper, though it still continues Sell ​​stem player without Western involvement. And earlier this week, Kano Stem video projector unveiledwhile obsessing over plans for all sorts of new products covering everything from food to clothing.

With Kano headed in a new direction, this left a key part of her business in limbo. Kano World It’s been an integral part of Kano’s offering pretty much since its inception — with an online account, users can create games, animations, and art, share them with the Kano community, remix other users’ work, participate in challenges, and more.

The platform is designed to bring a little fun and feature to your computer decks, although they can be used independently of Kano hardware.

Programming Challenge in Kano World Image credits: Kano World

going solo

Going forward, Kano World will operate single-handedly as an independent business entity led by the Chief Executive Officer Oli DutchHe was previously the President of Sales and Education at Kano Computing.

Dotsch started his new role in August, just as Kano World was It was formally incorporated. According to UK Companies House filingKano World has three major shareholders, including the co-founder and CEO of Kano Alex Klein Which owns a large number of shares, Dotsch itself, and Kano Computing.

In a Q&A with TechCrunch, Dotsch explained that after leading Kano’s Windows PC sales to eventual sale in early 2022, he floated the idea of ​​taking Kano World with CEO Klein and the company’s board, aware of the fact that Kano was changing its focus. .

“Now Kano Computing is growing the Stem business,” said Deutch. “The focus on Stem has left Kano World with little budget, resources, or interest to grow it into the product and business that we believe it can and will be. Now on our own, we can fundraise, build a team, and dedicate ourselves to the success of our vision of empowering the creative genius in all young people to create.” And not just consumption.

Canoe World CEO Uli Deutch Image credits: Kano World

Currently, Kano World is a team of just three and is fully funded by its three major shareholders, with plans underway to seek new funding “in the coming months”. Besides its equity stake, Kano Computing will also act as an incubator of sorts in the short term, providing office space at its headquarters in East London.

“Extracting Kano World from Kano Computing is complex and will take time, but we’ve really started incrementally, and once we’re done, we leave both companies stronger than before,” Deutch said.

If nothing else, Kano World strives to retain at least some of the original “Creator and Maker” spirit of Kano, albeit while focusing only on the software side of things. Furthermore, it could be seen as a positive move Kano chose to give Kano World a chance to flourish on its own, when it would be easier to let it die slowly inside Kano, or pull the plug on it entirely.

“In this environment, it made more sense for Kano World to grow out of Kano Computing than in it[side]Kano Computing co-founder and CEO Alex Klein said in a statement. Kano World has had many exciting iterations over the years, even catching the attention of Mark Zuckerberg who Share share using the platform with his children. This show is the next logical step in bringing new and exhilarating creative experiences to young people around the world.”

As before, Kano World offers two of its three creative tools – Kano code And make art – Free including access to some starters challenges. Those who sign up for a premium subscription, which costs $10 per month or $100 per year, can access pixel movement and a broader set of challenges.

Without giving too much away, Dotsch said they’re actively building out the social community aspect of the platform and its suite of creative software, with power users getting access to new products first.

The new Kano World company intends to double its staff to about six people by the end of February, according to Dotsch, with subsequent software development and creative hires planned.

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