Kid-Coding Robots Maker Play-i Earns $8M in Funding

 Play-i Bo & Yana

Play-i Bo & Yana

STEPHANIE MLOT | MARCH 4, 2014 | PCMag – California startup Play-i has raised $8 million to bring code-teaching robots Bo and Yana to life.
California startup Play-i has raised $8 million to bring code-teaching robots Bo and Yana to life.
The company had already crowdsourced $1 million late last year, garnering almost 11,000 pre-orders for the robots aimed at kindergarteners.
This time around, Play-i worked with investors Madrona Venture Group and Charles River Ventures to help “bring learning and play to millions of children around the world,” Play-i’s June Lin wrote in a blog post.
“Your contribution to our crowdfunding campaign will go directly towards bringing Bo and Yana to you. Building robots actually costs more than you might think.”
The latest round of funding, according to Play-i, will be put toward hiring a team of engineers to build the robots’ software platform, ensuring “hundreds of hours of play,” Lin said.
Interested developers can apply to create apps for the robots online.
Bo and Yana burst onto the scene in October, with the hope that cute robots with colorful accessories can entice children to get excited about coding. Aimed at kids five years and older, the play-based programming system combines music, stories, and animation to let users control Bo and Yana—blue-and-orange rolling robots with unique personalities and different coding needs.
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