Do-it-yourself (DIY) computer kit company Kano has raised $1 million USD (roughly $1.36 million CAD) in funding from Microsoft.
The funding comes as Kano releases an upgraded version of its Windows-based computer, which will expand international distribution.
The U.K.-based indy project previously made modular computers using an operating system based on open-source Raspberry Pi. However, last year, Kano joined forces with Microsoft to built a limited batch of 1,000 Windows-based PCs.
Thanks to the expanded partnership and new funding, Kano will expand distribution from North America and the U.K. to include Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
Although taking on a larger corporate partnership risks Kano’s indy image, Microsoft’s presence gives Kano some marketing muscle. The company hopes that the partnership will allow it to compete with bigger players like Dell and HP for contracts.
Kano’s PCs focus on education and use modular hardware to teach kids about computers. Additionally, Kano PCs come with software to teach kids about coding, how computers work and more.
Venture Beat reports that the new funding comes at a crucial juncture for Kano. Earlier this year, the company said it lost $13.7 million USD in 2019. Further, Kano sought $7.5 million USD in additional venture capital.
Beyond the new Microsoft funding, Kano says it raised the money needed in 2020, although it did not disclose the final amount or other investors.
Kano is now shifting its Windows PC to large-scale production. Further, the new version Kano introduced offers a new Intel Celeron processor with faster performance, 10 hours of battery life. It also sports a USB-C charger, physical volume buttons, two USB 3.0 sockets and Bluetooth 5.0.
Along with the revamped Kano PC, the company will launch ‘Kano Software Studio‘ for its Windows machine, a version of its ‘Kano World‘ platform that offers kids educational tools. Along with that, Kano is adding new classroom tools that allow teachers to track assignments via Microsoft Teams. Finally, Kano will introduce new peripherals, including modular webcams, headphones and a mouse.
Source: Venture Beat