ROBOTICAL, the edtech start-up behind Marty the robot, today announced the completion of its £43,291 Kickstarter campaign, having set an initial target of £30,000. The campaign saw almost 200 backers pledging in return for a variety of tiered Marty v2 product bundles, ranging from a single robot up to the whole school/council pack which contains 50 Marty v2 units.
Additionally, Robotical won a Global Innovators Grant from Expo 2020 Dubai just last week, adding a further boost of funding to the company in the immediate wake of the Kickstarter. The grant has been awarded by Expo Live, Expo 2020’s global partnership programme, which provides funding for innovative solutions that make the world a better place. The combined total will be used to finalise development of Marty v2 and begin mass production, with the first units walking into schools from March 2020.
Marty was designed to inspire children into taking up careers in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, by helping teachers in primary and secondary schools to make lessons in these subjects more fun. With STEM industries currently struggling to fill an ever-widening skills gap, encouraging children to take up robotics, coding and programming from an early age has never been more important.
“I backed Marty v2 because my students love coding, and he is a very versatile robot that is easy to use. They were able to code from day one, right out of the box, using skills that build on what we are doing in our classroom coding lessons,” says Jami Shields, primary school teacher at La Villita Elementary, Texas, and Kickstarter backer. “My students got so excited about v1, backing v2 was the logical next step. We are particularly interested in the grabbing hand and the additional sensors, and of course, the lights sound exciting. I can’t wait until he arrives in my classroom and the students literally cheered when I told them I backed the robot on Kickstarter and that he was fully funded!”
Version one of Marty saw widespread investment from both primary and secondary schools, with thousands of units being used in over 150 schools across more than 50 countries. Version 2 is packed with new features, including smart sensors that allow Marty to copy your movements, motors that allow grabbing hands, obstacle detection, Bluetooth compatibility, sound capability and the all-new Disco Marty setting, giving children more options on how they use Marty than ever before.
The Kickstarter funding will help Robotical to finesse these new features and begin rollout of the product. The money from the grant will also help to finalise v2 and to scale up operations, with a target of 6,000 new students reached in the next year alone and further growth for 2021. It will also help to create additional learning materials and metrics and allow Robotical to initiate a robotics competition with the hope of securing over 100 teams taking part.
In addition to Marty v2, Robotical is also developing a new learning platform to help make Marty as user-friendly as possible, which is expected to be available before the end of 2020.
“Firstly, I want to thank all of our Kickstarter backers and Expo 2020 Dubai for awarding us the grant. This money will really allow us to accelerate production of Marty v2, scale up our operations and start some great new initiatives including a robotics competition. Having witnessed the joy that Marty has spread in schools, I am looking forward to seeing how pupils and teachers respond to the new features we have been working on for v2,” said Sandy Enoch, founder and CEO of Robotical. “We hope that by making STEM subjects as engaging as possible, we can inspire children into taking up careers in these industries and plugging the skills gap in the job market. Failing to do so will have serious repercussions on the UK in the long term, so hopefully, our ongoing product development will be able to help create excitement in these subjects at a young age.”
Yousuf Caires, Senior Vice President, Expo Live, Expo 2020 Dubai said: “As one of the most inspiring and human aspects of Expo 2020, Expo Live is supporting innovators, whose solutions are making a real impact on people’s lives, in every corner of the world, with funding, guidance and exposure. We are delighted to support Expo Live Global Innovator Robotical, which is making learning about robotics and STEM subjects fun – helping to future proof the next generation with the education and skills required to succeed in the modern economy. We look forward to seeing the launch of Marty v2 which promises to further inspire and equip children with the tools they need to reach their full potential.”