Toy-Robot Maker Raises Millions in Second Funding Round
Wonder Workshop Inc., which makes toy robots that teach kids how to code, said it raised $20 million in its second round of funding and was looking to expand into new markets, especially China.
The San Mateo, California-based company, founded in 2012, makes two kinds of robots -- Dot and Dash -- compatible with iOS and Android devices, and can be controlled through mobile apps.
Children can teach the robots actions, from moving around in a room to playing tunes on a xylophone, by writing simple commands or codes.
Chief Executive and co-founder Vikas Gupta hit upon the idea to start Wonder Workshop during a six-month sabbatical he took shortly after his daughter.
"I wanted to find the solution that will engage children aged 5-10, meet them at their cognitive and motor skills," Vikas Gupta told Reuters.
Gupta worked with a team of inventors and co-founder Saurabh Gupta to create the robots. Vikas and Saurabh Gupta are not related.
Vikas Gupta also founded virtual currency platform operator Jambool in 2006. He sold the company to Google in 2010.
Wonder Workshop, which has already raised $15.9 million from investors including Madrona Venture Group, Maven Ventures, WI Harper Group and others, said the latest round of financing was led by WI Harper and Idea Bulb Ventures, along with Learn Capital and TCL.
Wonder Workshop was speaking with several retail partners in China, including China's No.2 e-commerce company JD.com, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
"In China, we see parents very passionate about their kids' education and we have already seen a lot of after-school learning centers import our robots," Vikas Gupta said.
Wonder Workshop has sold robots to more than 7,000 elementary schools around the world and expects to reach another 8,000 schools this year.
The company has sold 140,000 robots in the last 18 months through its website, Apple stores, Best Buy Co Inc., Target Corp. and Toys R Us stores.
(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh)