Wonder Workshop has raised $41 million in Series C funding. Twelve thousand classrooms worldwide already use the company's robots to teach kids fundamental skills for computer science through hands-on play. Now, Wonder Workshop will expand its software platform in order to increase the presence in the consumer market.
Investors in this round include Tencent Holdings, TAL Education Group, MindWorks Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, Softbank Korea, and VTRON Group. Also investing in this round were current investors TCL Capital, Sinovation Ventures, Bright Success, WI Harper, and CRV.
Children as young as five years old have been using Wonder Workshop's original Dash and Dot robots since 2014. More than eight million programs have been created by kids so far. In September, the company also introduced Cue, a $200 educational robot that is meant for teenagers.
Compared to Dash and Dot, it is more advanced, with deeper AI and a vocabulary of 170,000 words. Teens can practice their programming skills with Cue, taking advantage of its precision motors, proximity sensors, multiple processors, and more.
The company also hosts a robotics championship called Wonder League. In 2016, a total of 5,300 teams participated in the league. Last year, 47 percent of the league's 20,000 participants were girls, including the winning team. This is a good start to fixing the wide gender gap in robotics. Studies have shown that providing young girls with chances to try programming fostered their interest in robotics and changed their perception of their technological abilities.
"Today's children already have the most important traits for tomorrow's economy: Budding, curious minds. But we owe them access to tools that will unlock their incredible capacity for invention and exploration," said Vikas Gupta, CEO and co-founder of Wonder Workshop, in a statement. "We founded Wonder Workshop to provide allchildren -- girls and boys of all ages -- with the skills needed to succeed in the future economy. This round of financing will allow us to continue on our mission to inspire the inventors of tomorrow."