back to article Pi based kid-nerdifier Kano buried under freak cash avalanche

Educational hardware startup Kano announced on Monday that it had raised $15m from a Series A funding pot. Brit economist and one-time Goldman Sachs asset management chairman Jim O'Neill was among the backers piling greenbacks onto the outfit. Kano, whose computer is powered by the Raspberry Pi 2 and retails at $149 (£119.99 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope they brought some cigarettes...

    Cause I like to smoke after I get f*cked with exchange rates..

    On a serious note though, looks cool and I'd be very interested if it was < £100..

    1. DaLo

      Re: I hope they brought some cigarettes...

      Kano is a british company and the exchange rate is almost spot on.

      $149 = £98.36 + 20% VAT = £118.03, so if you feel an extra £1.96 is getting f***ed by an exchange rate rather than just rounding up to the nearest 99, I would suggest you have bigger worries.

    2. David Gosnell

      Re: I hope they brought some cigarettes...

      Strangely enough, it was under £100 until the BBC ran a feature on it, and guess what, the price nudged up. It was already a bit overpriced, but quite attractive as a turnkey boxset, but the additional £20 popularity tax slapped on took the pee.

    3. 0laf

      Re: I hope they brought some cigarettes... has them for pre order for £119

  2. JimmyPage Silver badge


    fond memories of learning electronics, aged 8 from a Radionics kit, made by Phillips. Got me an A/O and O level in electronics years before they were on the syllabus

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Radionics`

      I had a Radionics set when I was about the same age. I don't remember it being made by Philips, though.

      I don't actually know what happened to it. It's probably still buried in a box in my Father's loft. I remember that I used to burn out the transistors, and soon became proficient enough with a soldering iron (while repairing the component blocks) to no longer need the kit! So a double whammy learning experience.

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge

        Re: Radionics`- Phillips

        My memory wins:

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Radionics`- Phillips

          Maybe mine was older. The page here suggests that the kits were not originally made by Philips, but later marketed by Philips. Possibly Philips bought or licensed the design.

          IIRC, the box for mine looked very similar to the one in the background of this picture

          1. ChrisBedford

            Re: Radionics`- Phillips

            Philips badge-engineered just about everything they sold for decades. It would astonish me if they weren't still doing it.

  3. 0laf

    Oooh shiny

    Want one!

  4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge


    £25 for the pi, £5 for the cables (an overestimate, as you can get identical ones in Wilkos for £1.50 each), another £5 for the dongle, and £5 for the case and speakers, and lets be generous, £20 for the keyboard. That makes £60.

    Where's the other £60 going? The cardboard box?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so...

      Most of the cash seems to have gone into producing a cut-down gui version of Raspbian.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: so...

        Packaging and deployment maybe? I agree though that the money is high for this, of course maybe they are seeking Apple fans. Whatever happens with Pi like devices it's going to have to beef it up, because these devices are becoming more desired, but have halted adding many things people want and have halted on "defaults" features that come with even the cheapest of boards. For this asking price, they realky just might have to target unknowing children...Disney style.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: so...

          "I agree though that the money is high for this, of course maybe they are seeking Apple fans"

          iPi ?

          (ok, so how do I do UTF-16 on a crippled browser work IE9 so that I can do a reversed P?)

      2. Timbo

        Re: so...

        A cut-down version of Raspbian? - and yet this "pack" includes a Pi 2, which has more CPU's and more memory than an original Pi, which runs Raspbian pretty well....

        I'm sure they must know what they are doing, but why buy their kit, when you can buy the bits separately, and download the software for free? The educational market might be the only way they can shift units at that price, esp if schools get a discount for multiple units?

        1. Salts

          Re: so...


          Also if you have the original Kano why not just replace the Pi 1 with a Pi 2, why a whole new kit?

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: so...

          I'm sure they must know what they are doing, but why buy their kit, when you can buy the bits separately, and download the software for free?

          The same question could be applied to almost anything you buy nowadays. Some products, notably perfume, but also coffee, are almost all packaging. And consumers love it.

          Providing everything you need at once, including a keyboard and printed manuals reduces the number of decisions to be taken (which case?, which power supply, etc?) and the hurdles involved. Also, for the educational market both sales and after-sales support are likely to be important. Buy enough of them and have them customised: how about the physics department deciding to have the oscilloscope version? or the biology one with the microscope controller?

          The Pi isn't the cheapest bit of ARM-hardware out there but it's a known commodity with an expanding software and hardware ecosystem.

      3. mathew42

        Re: so...

        I hope most of the cash has gone in to the applications for teaching kids how to code by playing snake, pong, minecraft, a terminal based adventure game, etc. My son (9) played the adventure game last night and now he knows how how to use ls, cat, mv, cp and possibly some more when I wasn't watching. My daughter (12) had a similar experience. He has worked through all the other exercises independently. We've let another 8 kids ranging from 8-13 play on our Kano and it and they've each been able to solve the exercises and experimented.

        I've ordered the PowerUp, because I'm hopeful that working with the LED board will extend the kids further. Sure I could put it all together for less, but time is money and the kids have something they can use now, rather than waiting for Dad to have some free time.

        It will be interesting to see if the demand is higher than the 500 Kano are planning to build.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: so...

          >knows how how to use ls, cat, mv, cp

          Well, right into the 1970's technology there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: so...

            Wot?! His cat knows how to use it? Clever moggy...

    2. anoco

      Re: so...

      I'm pretty sure this is for non-tech or affluent parents and relatives that want to give it as a birthday or Christmas gift.

      I wanted to give one to my grandson for his coming birthday, but I know I'll be kicking myself for spending all that money on the "pretty". I might as well get the separate parts for him and buy some other pretty toy with the £60 that I'll save.

    3. Never Ready

      Re: so...

      "Where's the other £60 going? The cardboard box?"

      £20 VAT. £10 power supply (not a £3 Chinese "supply" that fails even a basic safety inspection). A fiver for the SD card and then the cost of programming it. Dongle and cables are likely to be closer to £10 a throw - HDMI cables are not cheap as chip even in the trade and again the dongle is unlikely to be the cheapest tat out there. And yes, packaging, manuals and support.

      If you don't want it or can get cheaper then go elsewhere, no one is stuffing it down your throat. But adding up only half the BOM and complaining you only get to half the value is not a valid argument.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: so...

        Er, no.

        £5 for a good power supply, £1 for USB and HDMI cables in bulk, fully working wireless dongle <£8, SD cards in bulk <£5. So please get your BOM correct as well.

  5. toffer99


    You know you're getting old when you can't understand a Reg headline before you get to the story.

  6. Ian Michael Gumby
    Thumb Up

    Kinda cool.

    Sure you can buy a Pi and all of the bits and save some money.

    But the reason why this will be a success is that its all packaged together with less hassles so that the kid can play with it knowing that he's got all of the correct pieces in front of him.

    BTW, its still cheaper than a Heathkit H8 and that's straight dollars with no adjustment for inflation. And yes, I'm showing my age. ;-)

  7. Timbo

    Reminds me of...

    ...the original Sinclair ZX80 kit......

    Yes, you too, can make a computer !! At least these days, it'd be much easier to load and edit programs on the Kano....back then, it was either using a mono portable cassette tape deck (LOADING...>>), or typing in multiple lines of code....

    1. dominicr

      Re: Reminds me of...

      ooh, I still have mine. Sumer, horse racing and dungeons'n'dragons each in 1K. The limitations of the machine actually made it a great way to get started coding.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. CptScorcher

    Isn't that a Raspberry Pi Model B in the box??

  10. James Hughes 1






    Does make you wonder where all the extra money is going, especially since the Foundation does all the Raspbian dev work, spends a lot of money on education, and supports things like SonicPi, Scratch, Minecraft Pi and Mathmatica, and won't see a penny of this £15M (except the usual cut of the Pi2 sales)

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