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UK tech stars aiming to change the world: Alex Klein and George Burgess

Sam Shead | April 23, 2014
An enthusiastic army of teenagers and young 20-somethings are largely to thank for the tech movement that has swept across the UK over the last few years.

An enthusiastic army of teenagers and young 20-somethings are largely to thank for the tech movement that has swept across the UK over the last few years.

Inspired by the millions of dollars that have been made by the likes of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Bebo's Michael Birch, Snapchat's Evan Spiegel, and Box's Aaron Levie, the next generation of talented tech-types are looking to turn their start-ups into the next big thing.

Techworld asked some of the leading start-up experts in the UK to nominate who they believe are the most promising entrepreneurs under the age of 25 and here we've caught up with them.

Those that feature on the list were nominated by the following people:

  • Benjamin Southworth - former deputy CEO of Tech City
  • Matthew Clifford - co-founder of Entrepreneur First
  • Alice Bentinck - co-founder of Entrepreneur First
  • Oli Johnson - co-founder of Rain Making Loft
  • Sam Shead - senior reporter for Techworld

3. Alex Klein (23), Co-founder of Kano

How would you describe what your business does?

Kano is a computer that anyone can make, like Lego. It comes as a kit, and gives all ages, all over the world the ability to make their own technology, rather than just consume it. It's simple, step-by-step, and powered by storytelling. It's also hugely fun, and draws from game design and art. Plus you'll learn code. We started Kano to give a new creative generation open, accessible tools to take control of the world around them.

What do you consider your greatest achievements to date?

We're the most crowdfunded learning invention ever, after raising $1.5 million in 30 days on Kickstarter, supported by folks like Apple's Steve Wozniak, and a tribe of 13,367 backers from over 50 countries. We brought the kit to the crowd after a year of making computers and games with artists, engineers, and kids all around the world. "Epic...amazing...I had no idea what I could do...code isn't boring... fantastic" and the dozens upon dozens of big grins from young creators — that's what we're proud of. Also assembling an incredible team of storytellers, makers, and reshapers here in London — 17 of us from 10 different countries. We did all this in one year.

What are your targets for the next five years?

We want to inspire 200 million young people around the world to make computers, games, stories, connected devices, radios, and basestations. We're already in 10 languages, we want to be in 30 ­ — a computer kit that's as accessible in Shenzhen as it is in Shoreditch. Ultimately, the goal of the business was not just to make the coolest computer kit around. It was to democratise technological creation, to make it accessible and human for the new majorities, and give everyone a way into a type of invention that has traditionally been locked away in closed hubs, Valleys, and accelerators.

 

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