Play-i, a company building robots for children to program, has raised $8 million in Series A financing from Madrona Venture Group and Charles River Ventures. The company previously raised $1 million in seed funding from Madrona and Google Ventures in May 2013, and also recently completed a crowdfunding campaign in which it raised over $1.4 million in 30 days by taking pre-orders for almost 11,000 robots.
Play-i features Bo & Yana—robots that engage children and teach them programing concepts. Over 200 schools have signed up to use Bo & Yana to teach programming in their curriculum. Additionally, more than 100 developers have signed up for early access to Play-i's API, with the company planning to release its API for broader use when robots start shipping later this year. Play-i plans to use the Series A financing towards growing its team, which has been attracting talent from companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe and Google.