In November 2022, Kano Computing, which sells hardware targeted at musicians and creatives, cut ties with Kanye West (now Ye) over the rappers’ anti-semitic comments and a conflict over terms.
The British audio and computing hardware company reached new heights after releasing Stem Player, an audio remixing device that allows users to customize recordings. The London-based startup launched the device in August 2021, in conjunction with the release of West’s Donda album.
Complex reported that the company “sold more than 100,000 units in the initial drop, with each device selling for $200.” West’s Donda 2 album was released exclusively on the Stem Player in February 2022.
However, after severing ties with the rapper, the British company is now planning to solicit equity capital from its customers and admirers as it charts a new path. According to CNBC, the firm will launch a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube where regular people will be able to own a portion of Kano alongside Microsoft and billionaire investor Jim Breyer’s Breyer Capital. Microsoft and Breyer are among Kano’s institutional backers.
Kano is seeking to raise $900,000 from private investors in the United Kingdom and Europe and later expand the drive to the United States.
Kano Computing first started as a venture to help kids code with computer kits that are not difficult to build. It then transitioned to developing audio products, the main one being its Stem Player.
Kano Computing founder Alex Klein first met with West in 2019. The two discussed what eventually became known as the Donda Stem Player, now Stem Player.
However, the relationship between the two deteriorated following a series of anti-semitic comments by the rapper and disagreements over terms. Before that, West verbally committed to purchasing Kano for $80 million, according to CNBC.
Should the crowdfunding become successful, Kano plans to launch a pair of white headphones called the Stem Headphones, by the end of 2023 or early 2024.