Sesame Street’s Venture Fund Heads Deeper Into Tech

Molly Prince | Reporter

Sesame Ventures, the socially oriented venture capital arm of Sesame Street, has financed tech company Kano with the goal of helping people, especially children, develop computer skills while learning how everyday technology works, rather than simply consuming it.

Kano, a U.K.-based start-up known for children’s build-your-own computer kits, teaches kids to code with step-by-step challenges.

“We see dozens of hours of engagement, actually a level of engagement especially in the first month which rivals Snapchat,” Alex Klein, Kano’s chief executive, told CNBC. “What people are doing on Kano is not just using applications like Whatsapp or Wikipedia or Minecraft but remaking them and sharing their own versions of them.” (RELATED: New Sesame Street Puppet Has A Father In Prison)

The recent investment is an extension of a $28-million round of funding that Kano closed in 2018. However, the size of this latest cash infusion remains undisclosed. The strategic investment is not only meant to bolster Kano’s growth, but also allow the company to expand into new products and even venture into new territory. “We are also very keen to demystify decentralized networks like the blockchain,” Klein continued.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, launched Sesame Ventures in 2016. The fund’s aim is to invest in “mission-aligned” early stage education-technology companies by collaborating with already established venture capital groups, reported The New Yorker. Sesame Workshop’s mission is to “help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.”

This is not the first investment Sesame Ventures has made into a start-up. The fund was a limited partner in a multi-million dollar investment to Yup, a tutoring app, and had an undisclosed stake in Reach Capital, an education technology venture firm.

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