Startup to Watch: Cody Block

Here at Work In Startups, we’re on a mission to champion the best and most exciting startups in the UK. To support this, we’re starting a new blog series highlighting some of the most innovative and fast-growing startups around. Follow us as we interview startup founders and employees across the country and find out more about their goals and ambitions, what the future holds and (for all you startup jobseekers out there looking for the inside scoop) what they look for in a prospective employee.

This week we are talking to Hayri Bulmna founder of QUBS they are making next generation children toys help them understand coding.

Tell us about Cody Block! How did it all start and what are your goals?

In 2015 I was struck by the story of two brothers, Chris and Will Haughey, and how they started TEGU, a toy company that fosters a positive social impact in Honduras. I was not only fascinated by how the company came to be but also by their product, elegant wooden toys with a twist: a magnet hidden inside each piece.

I became obsessed with the idea of exploring how to bring technology and classic wooden toys together. I started working on different concepts and played with a project that was incorporating RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology inside the wooden blocks.

I started QUBS and launched our first toy, Cody Block, on Kickstarter on April 2020. Cody Block is a screen-free wooden toy for children aged three and up, which introduces the first concepts of computational thinking to young children via tangible programming.

 
What are your values as an ambitious startup?


We want to make toys that are good for children, for parents, and for the planet.
As a company, our aim is to create toys that will be long-lasting, made of natural materials, and that can bring hours of play and learning for kids everywhere around the world.

With your current knowledge and what you’ve learnt so far, is there any advice would you give yourself back when you were just getting started?

The company is still very young and there’s a lot to learn, but the team is very experienced and passionate. Probably we should have waited a couple more months to launch on Kickstarter, as we started selling our product in the midst of a pandemic, but luckily it all turned out well!

What is next for Cody Block and what are the goals for 2021?

We are now in pur production phase and we want to ship Cody Block to all our backers in Q1 of 2021. We also already have some distributors interested in the product so we’re planning to expand to different markets next year. Of course, we are also developing new products to launch, but these are all a secret for now!

Peter Krige (Engineer) Federica Orlat (Project Management) Oscar Lhermitte(Product Designer) Hayri Bulmna

 
Any plans for the next stage of programming for kids?


We believe that the current generation of children will need to be literate in technology in order to understand the world they live in. Understanding the basics of coding will not only help children to learn logical thinking but also to develop fundamental problem solving abilities, creativity and resilience.
The team is of course already discussing how to expand Cody Block’s world and its learning outcomes. When we think about the future of our products, we also want to make sure we stay true to our principles: making educational toys that are fun and playful, and that can integrate technology into timeless designs.

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