The woman who’s getting hands-on with learning [insight]

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency. It is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Innovate UK drives productivity and growth by supporting businesses to realise the potential of new technologies, develop ideas and make them a commercial success.

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Government agency Innovate UK shines their ‘Game Changer’ spotlight on Bethany Koby, co-founder and CEO of Technology Will Save Us:

YouTube link

Both Bethany and Technology Will Save Us strive to change the way children learn and play with creative, hands-on technology. The organisation produces a range of make-it-yourself kits, with the aim to build a link between physical and virtual education for children using technology. Products range from wearable tech which children can code themselves, to toy robots and a music kit which amplifies sounds. Each product is designed to help children develop technology based skills and passions.

When programming was added to the school curriculum, Bethany saw a huge opportunity to work with schools. Technology Will Save Us now works with one of the largest UK after-school clubs, Code Club, which teaches digital skills to children.

Since its inception, Technology Will Save Us has gained support from venture capital funding, which has allowed them to grow their team to more than 30 people.

Where It All Began

After discovering a laptop in a rubbish bin in Hackney, Bethany and her co-partner started considering the role technology plays in our lives. After becoming a mum, Bethany became frustrated with the consumptive nature of toys whilst kids are getting smarter.

“I became a mother and I was annoyed by the toy industry,” she explains. “It’s still pink and blue, it’s not about being productive and creative and empowering; it’s actually still kind of boring.”

From here, Technology Will Save Us was born.

“As crazy entrepreneurial people we decided, alright, let’s do something about it. Using our experience as designers, educators and technologists we decided to build a toy brand for the creator generation.”

Bethany’s Career Timeline

  • 2000 – Achieved a BFA in Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of Design.
  • 2003-2012 – Became creative director at Wolff Olins, an international branding and innovation consultancy.
  • 2012 – Founded Technology Will Save Us with husband Daniel Hirschmann.
  • 2015 – Raised $1.8m from investment.
  • 2015 – Partners with BBC to give micro:bit to one million 11 years olds.
  • 2016 – Mover kit raises $50k+ from crowdfunding in just 2 days.
  • 2016 – Awarded Best Kids Tech at CES Innovation Awards 2017.

Business, Family & The Journey

Bethany says that co-owning and running a company with your partner has its ups and downs, likening it to the close relationship in marriage...

“You’re sharing this really intense journey and there has to be an incredible amount of trust, respect and an incredible amount of commitment.”

Her secret to keeping a healthy work/life balance is to keep worlds close together. Keeping your home, child’s school and your office within walking or cycling distance of each other allows for a flexible lifestyle and a feeling of community.

If you would like to watch more Game Changer videos, subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here. For more information, visit

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