Sesame Street teams up to teach kids coding and blockchain

Sesame Street’s own venture fund – yes, that’s a thing – is planning to invest in Kano, a company that helps kids learn to code, and wants to teach them about Blockchain technology.

Sesame Ventures – an investment fund off-shoot of the long-running, Jim Henson-created kids TV show Sesame Street – is planning to invest in a company dedicated to teaching kids about code, and that wants them to know all about the blockchain, too.

Kano, which creates build-your-own-computer kits based around the Raspberry Pi mini-computer and its own operating system and software, has been backed by Sesame Ventures to help it work on new products dedicated to helping its users understand the technology they use every day, rather than just consuming it, according to reports by CNBC. Sesame Ventures punt on the company – part of its “socially minded” portfolio of investments – was part of $28m the company raised from interested parties last year, it says.

“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” Alex Klein, Kano’s chief executive and co-founder, told the news service. Kano currently has 250,000 customers in 150 countries – both using its hardware and online platform. Half of the users of the online service are over 18, it claims.

Klein also told CNBC that its future plans intend to go beyond its computer kits, and into new educational areas – including getting people up to speed on blockchains. “We are also very keen,” he said, “to demystify decentralised networks like the blockchain.”

“You’re going to see some product announcements from us in the next few months,” he teased, “that will give you a sense of how we are evolving the creative computing system, both software and hardware. But what interests us greatly is building your own internet, learning how networks work so you can protect your data, so you can carefully and creatively open up access ports to other people, exchange files in your own way, kind of take some control back over how these core communication systems in your life work.”

On behalf of Sesame Ventures, executive VP for strategy, research and ventures Tanya Haider, said it can “have a much greater impact by partnering with others rather than doing everything ourselves.

Sesame Street was the original disrupter in kid’s media by harnessing the power of television to teach. With Kano, we will be exploring the creation of products, content, and research that positively impact the way parents and children approach technology.”