Whenever a challenge lies before you, and you feel like you can’t go on any further, I implore you to remember this article, and this startup, and realize that you, in fact, “Kandu” whatever you set your mind to.
Kandu, the latest venture out of betaworks, founded by David Bennahum and Gerry Laybourne, is looking to make computer programming as accessible as it’s ever been. Through a snappy, adorable little iPad app, kids can now learn about the overall structure of coding by developing their own games or animated pictures.
To make things simple, the app doesn’t actually use any code — at least not the kind you’re used to. Instead of using educational curricula like on Codecademy, Kandu opens up to the child as a blank canvas. Toolbars on the right and left allow kids to add characters, objects, and backgrounds.
But even then, those characters and objects have no directions but to stand still.
Users can subsequently add gravity to the mix, and watch their character fall out of frame until they put an object below them, to hold their character in the frame. But maybe they want that character to bounce around. With the easy-to-understand tools, users can set the character to have a bouncy relationship to the object, so it bounces each time it comes in contact with it.
Or maybe they want the monster character to chase the cute little monster.
Pretty much anything you can imagine is available on Kandu, to the point where kids can create fully functional games and share them on the Kandu platform for other kids to play.
I played with the app myself, and watched kids react to it, and it’s truly remarkable how quickly and easily kids pick up on the language of coding. Just check this out:
Within the main feed, where all Kandus are published, users then have the option to “Remix” a game or animation to add their own colors, objects, characters, and animations.
Eventually, there are a few options available to generate revenue: through a marketplace where kids can sell their designs to others, sponsored premium packs of characters and objects provided by brands, and the list goes on.
But for now, Kandu isn’t worried about the business model — the main focus is ensuring that the user experience is seamless and easy for kids, and that users hop on the platform and get creating.
Kandu closed a $2.4 million funding round in May 2013, led by betaworks.
The app is currently in a private beta, with plans to launch fully later in the year.
But if you just can’t help yourself, and need to check all this out, the first 20 TC readers who input the code “ktc” on the website will be granted access.