Kano has raised $1 million from Microsoft because the DIY PC maker releases an upgraded model of its Windows-based laptop, which is able to get expanded worldwide distribution.
The funding marks one other step in Kano’s ongoing transformation. Once a feisty indy mission, the U.Ok.-based startup made modular computer systems utilizing an working system primarily based on open-source Raspberry Pi. But final 12 months it struck a partnership with Microsoft to construct a restricted batch of 1,000 Windows-based PCs.
Now Microsoft has deepened its partnership with Kano to assist it increase distribution from North America and the U.Ok. to Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
“We’ve gotten Microsoft behind it in a big way,” mentioned Kano founder Alex Klein. “[Microsoft CEO] Satya Nadella got the product in July [and] fell in love with it. And we ended up sealing the deal, and Microsoft invested in Kano.”
The funding comes at a vital second for Kano, which disclosed earlier this year that it had misplaced $13.7 million throughout 2019 and was attempting to find $7.5 million in extra enterprise capital. Beyond the Microsoft funding, Klein confirmed that “we have raised what we were after in 2020,” although he didn’t disclose the ultimate quantity or the buyers.
The firm turned heads final 12 months when it revealed the brand new Windows model of its modular laptop. Kano had beforehand developed a pc package for instructing youngsters easy methods to assemble a primary PC, together with software program to assist them be taught to code. Taking on a giant company associate may need posed a threat to Kano’s indy picture, however the partnership is giving the corporate the advertising muscle that comes with being an official OEM associate. Klein mentioned he’s hoping his firm will compete with giants like Dell and HP for giant contracts.
After producing 1,000 of the Windows PC that was launched final 12 months, the corporate is now shifting into large-scale manufacturing, Klein mentioned.
The new model consists of upgraded options, together with a brand new Celeron processor for quicker efficiency, 10 hours of battery life, a USB-C charger, bodily quantity buttons, two USB 3.Zero sockets, and Bluetooth 5.0 (Intel AC9560 max velocity 1.73Gbps).
The firm can also be launching Kano Software Studio for its Windows machine, a model of its Kano World platform created for its conventional PCs that provides varied academic instruments for youths. And new classroom instruments enable academics to trace assignments through Microsoft Teams. Finally, the corporate is introducing peripherals, together with a modular webcam, headphones, and a mouse.