With a hefty US$41 million in Series C funding in hand, California-based edtech and robotics company Wonder Workshop is on a mission to expand its product offerings on a global scale—particularly within the Asian market. The investment, led by Tencent Holdings, TAL education Group, MindWorks Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, Softbank Korea and VTRON Group, adds to the US$27 million Wonder Workshop raised from two previous funding rounds.
Wonder Workshop makes ready-to-play robots Dot, Dash and Cue, which are designed to teach kids ages six and up about coding. Its offerings are gender-neutral and encourage young girls to get involved in STEM fields through robotics competitions (where attendance is often 50% female). Currently, Wonder Workshop products are used in more than 12,000 US schools.
“There’s a global need to introduce computer science and robotics in schools that has grown tremendously over the last few years,” says Vikas Gupta, Wonder Workshop CEO and co-founder. “Our new investors see our products and want the kind of success we’ve seen in the US, but globally.”
Wonder Workshop plans to turn many of its new investors into partners. Gupta says Chinese learning center operators like TAL Education Group and VTRON were interested in investing in the tech company after they had seen how kids positively responded to test pilots of Dot and Dash in their centers. Chinese media conglomerate Tencent, meanwhile, sees the future of coding and robotics in products like Wonder Workshop, according to Gupta.
“Investors like Tencent have very large user bases, which could act as a way for us to reach out to new customers as well,” says Gupta. “These companies approached us and they chose to invest in us because they saw the market leadership position we hold and the kind of reach we continue to build with our platform.”
As for internal product development, Wonder Workshop’s Cue was released in late September and skews slightly older at tweens. The robot was developed in tandem with Microsoft, a collaboration which Gupta says the company hopes to build on in the future.