Cannybots aimed to raise $40,000 when it launched on Kickstarter back in late September. Within three days of the campaign being live, it had raised a mammoth $109,741. Robert Hutchins talks to Cannybots co-founder and CEO Anish Mampetta about the rapid rise of his robot building kit
What is Cannybots and how did the idea for these kits come about?
Cannybots is a robot building kit disguised as a toy car. It can be used in a number of games like high speed racing, duelling or puzzle solving. It’s programmable from a phone or tablet and is also compatible with 3D printing.
Cannybots give kids a chance to build their own smart toy. This gives them a practical insight into how various components of technology come together to create something as cool as a toy robot.
I created the first Cannybot for my son as I was worried about the tablet addiction in kids. Being a robotics engineer, the obvious solution was to use robotics technology to create an engaging toy.
What has early reaction been like to Cannybots?
Since November 2014, we have sold over 200 Cannybots kits to 22 schools around the world. Most the sales came through Twitter as teachers are surprising Twitter savvy.
Cannybots are used for teaching programming in primary school and design/3D printing in secondary schools.
The feedback from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. The high speed and agility of the robots creates a level of engagement with kids that’s not seen with traditional STEM kits.
Kids see this more as a toy while not even realising they are learning.
Why did you choose to take the project to a crowdfunding site??
To raise funds for scaling production as well as to test the market. We had to be absolutely certain that there is a need for such a toy before taking the next step. Kickstarter is a nice place to test this.
How have you found the Kickstarter experience so far??
It’s been amazing. We hit our goal of $40,000 in less than two hours and raised over $120,000 in one week.
We are overwhelmed with the support and encouragement we have received so far.
Why should the UK market be excited by the Cannybots line??
Technology is progressing so fast that the school system may lag behind. Toys like Cannybots provide the opportunity to learn practical aspects of technology though play at home. Parents are starting to see the value in these sort of toys, as evident in our Kickstarter success and many other ‘edtech’ toys that are coming out.
I think this this is a positive thing for the UK market as parents will be willing to spend more money on toys.
What’s the next stage for you, following the Kickstarter project??
We’ll be focusing on delivering the Kickstarter orders and setting up supply chain.
We are also expanding our software team as well as introducing different Cannybots models in time for the holiday season next year.
It is a really exciting time to be developing toys. I think toys stagnated for a few decades due to the popularity of digital games. But the cost of technology is coming down so much that you can make really smart toys at an affordable price.
We also have lot more software that go into toys which adds a whole different dimension. We are talking about ‘Internet of toys’ and ‘toys 2.0’. There are exciting times ahead.
Now the campaign has hit its goal, how can UK retailers get on board with Cannybots?
We’re coming out with the retail version in March 2016 after the Kickstarter orders are fulfilled. Please get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in retailing Cannybots.