Founded in 2012, ‘Technology Will Save Us’ is on a mission to bring creativity, empowerment and productivity back into children’s toys with its range of technology based, make-it-yourself kits. What began as the discovery of a discarded laptop in a Hackney rubbish bin has now developed into a company of 30 designers, creatives and educators, with over 100 000 kits sold internationally.
With more initiatives set up to help kids with coding and technology than ever before, and as more companies and individuals aim to equip the younger generation with the tools they need in the digital age, ‘Technology Will Save Us’ is part of an ongoing international effort. Co-founder Bethany Koby describes how she built her success up and created an impact within the world of children’s toys.
Finding Solutions within the Toy Industry
After becoming a mother, Bethany said she became
“annoyed by the toy industry”
and what she found to be a field dominated by bland and unimaginative products. This sparked the idea for programmable, creative kits that encourage children to create and innovate. Some of the company’s products include a wearable device that can be customised and coded by kids, a music kit that allows users to develop and amplify sound, as well as a Micro:Bot kit that is designed to build toy robots. The company also works with the UK’s largest after-school club, Code Club, to develop digital skills for children. With coding now a part of the national curriculum, a huge opportunity has opened up for ‘Technology Will Save Us’ to bring their creative, technology-focused approach to as many children as possible.
Building from Success to Success
Since its conception, ‘Technology Will Save Us’ has raised $1.8 million worth of investment, partnered with the BBC and was awarded the Best Kids Tech CES Innovation award in 2017. Its products are stocked in over 4 000 stores worldwide and, in 2016, over $50 000 was raised for new Mover kits in two days. While not yet available in South Africa, you can still buy some of these amazing products online (use Aramex Global Shopper to ship them to SA. Easy).
The Key to Entrepreneurship
Bethany co-founded the company with her partner and while not for everyone, she notes that it’s the “most intimate of relationships”. It’s a close commitment that requires a deep level of trust, but the decision has been a positive one for both her and the growth of the company. As well as having a close bond with her employees, a key part of the process has been managing the demands of a start-up founder with the pressures that come with motherhood. Bethany theorises that the key is to keep all of your various locations within walking distance of one another as a triangle. “That flexibility, that sense of community” she explains, “is really important to being able to be an entrepreneur and a parent.”
It’s all about the Journey
Like many start-up founders, Bethany chooses to see the growth of ‘Technology Will Save Us’ as a progressive, long term journey rather than a course with a clear destination. There are many natural ups and downs to the entrepreneur lifestyle, and plenty of times where things seem impossible. To combat those negative aspects, Bethany stresses the need for a sense of “certainty and focus” and a strong belief in what you’re striving for.
User experience lead, Ricardo Gonçalves, describes working with Bethany as “inspiring”. As the company continues to grow and impact the technology space for children everywhere, it’s no surprise that Bethany motivates her team and helps lead the way in creative solutions for kid’s toys.