US robots maker Wonder Workshop raises $41m from Tencent, SoftBank Korea, others

Photo by Wonder Workshop.

US educational robotics player Wonder Workshop has raised $41 million in a Series C round joined by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings, MindWorks Ventures, and SoftBank Korea, according to a report in AVCJ.

The round included additional backers such as Madrona Venture Group, TAL Education Group and VTRON Group. Existing investors TCL Capital, Sinovation Ventures, Bright Success, WI Harper and CRV also participated in the round.

Tencent recently led a $40 million financing in Wattpad, a Toronto-based storytelling platform, as the group’s own online literature platform, China Literature Ltd, is slated to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange via a $1.1-billion IPO.

Meanwhile, Wonder Workshop last raised funding in July last year, where it secured a $20 million series B led by Idea Bulb Ventures and WI Harper, with participation by Learn Capital, Charles River Ventures and Madrona Venture Group. The company had said it would use the funding to boost expansion in China.

The startup had previously raised $15.9 million in external financing since its inception in 2012.

Formerly known as Play-i, Wonder Workshop is an education and robotics startup based in Silicon Valley in the United States. The firm introduced the robots Bo and Yana for kids age 6 and up in November 2013, before renaming them to Dash and Dot in 2014.

Dash and Dot are robots targeted at teaching creative problem-solving and computational thinking. They come with four free apps compatible with iOS and Android devices, including the iPad 3, iPad mini, iPad Air 1 & 2 and a variety of Nexus and Samsung Galaxy devices.

Last month, the STEM firm launched a new robot for ages 11 and older named Cue. Cue is similar to Dash in its shape and size, and is controlled through an app that works either on a smartphone or an iPad. It can do various actions such as rolling forward and backward at specific distances, avoiding obstacles, singing, flashing with several colored light combinations, spinning its head, and telling stories.

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