Learning to code is the best shot your child has at success in the 21st century — and it must start with hands-on play at a young age. Play is a powerful teacher — and Dash and Dot that make robotics and coding every child’s play.
At Wonder Workshop, we code in kid speak. While Lincoln Logs and LEGOs were the building blocks of past generations’ play, coding is the tool of the 21st century kid. We build coding languages uniquely designed for kids ages 6 and up, putting the power of play into their hands. Dreaming up new adventures and bringing them to life, kids master this language by transforming our characters and robots into ready-to-play pals with code. With Wonder Workshop and our Dash and Dot Robots, every kid has the building blocks to push the boundaries of what is possible.
In 2012, the founders Vikas, Saurabh, and Mikal got together with a simple yet big mission - to make coding meaningful and fun for kids. At that time, there was no Dash & Dot or even robots in the picture. One of the first prototypes was a modular robotics kit that you could program by adding different types of blocks to it.
We decided that adding physical objects to change the program was too limiting. You could only add a few things before your car became unwieldy. We wanted our product to have a low floor but a high ceiling. We knew that concepts are more concrete to kids when they are expressed in a tangible, real-world way. But what if the physical object was a platform that you could use with a touch device? That was when the robot was born.
The robot you see looks really different from Dash & Dot. We spent a lot of time in kids’ homes user testing to see what form factors would appeal to them. At first, girls were uninterested in our designs. They compared the robot to a “boy’s toy” and said that it looked “like a car.” After we made the decision to hide the wheels, the robot suddenly became engaging to girls in addition to boys!
As we geared up for our crowdfunding campaign, we had to make a quality prototype of Dash & Dot. The entire team went to the unveiling of the robots from a local factory that helped us print them! Check out Dash & Dot before they had their coats painted on. True story: we made big last minute changes to Dot right before the crowdfunding campaign. Originally, Dot didn’t even have an eye!
November 2013 was a whirlwind month for us. The entire team helped out with the crowdfunding effort on everything from responding to support emails to doing demos of Dash & Dot at various companies in the Bay Area. After many long days, we wrapped up the month with over $1.4 million of robots sold. We were humbled and inspired that so many people were excited about our mission!
As we entered 2014, the pressure was on. We had to design for manufacture, do countless rounds of tests at each stage of production, and build a software team to work on our applications all in less than a year. Here is one of the first engineering test units that our partner manufacturer made.
During Summer 2014, we had our first engineering production robots come down the line. We could finally hold the Dash & Dot we spent so long working on in our hands. We see this product launch as phase one of delivering our commitment to you, our customers. We will continue to improve our play and learning experiences in the coming months and years. This is just the beginning of our story.
We are a small team on a big mission to bring learning and laughter to children around the world. In our ranks, we have parents, psychologists, makers, artists, musicians, teachers, and pilots. Located in sunny San Mateo, CA, we are always looking for passionate and talented folks to join us.Find Career Openings
Vikas drives the Wonder Workshop’s vision, strategy, and growth as it brings products into the hands of children around the world. Vikas learned to program using BASIC when he was 14 years old and later went on to start a company, Jambool, that was acquired by Google in 2010. Previously he led the payments and web services groups at Amazon. Vikas is a father of two, and it was the time he spent with his daughter, his first child, that inspired him to start Wonder Workshop.