littleBits has acquired DIY Co. Financial terms weren’t announced. DIY, of San Francisco, provides a free, kid-only online learning community. DIY investors include Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Founder Collective and Spark Capital.
NEW YORK, Aug. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — littleBits, the inventor of the electronic building block, today announced its acquisition of DIY Co., maker of the largest online learning community for kids. A leading hardware platform for learning and invention, littleBits has sold over 1 million electronic building block kits in 70 countries and to more than 20,000 schools. This acquisition marks the next step in littleBits’ evolution from a hardware-focused company to a technology company that leverages hardware, content streaming, and an online community to reinvent the way kids learn and empower them to become tomorrow’s changemakers.
DIY Co. was co-founded by serial entrepreneur Zach Klein, co-founder of Vimeo and a Kleiner Perkins Design Fellow. The San Francisco-based startup pioneered DIY.org, the free, kid-only community boasting more than 1.5 million projects uploaded by kids in subjects such as astronomy, pizza making, and woodworking; and JAM.com, the largest paid subscription STEAM course platform for kids.
The gap is widening between the skills that future jobs require and those that our current education system offers. Schools are struggling to keep up, and parents are cobbling together apps, tutors, and afterschool programs to fill in the blanks. Complementing its line of STEAM kits that encourage creativity and learning through play, littleBits’ acquisition of DIY Co. adds a host of digital educational content to its growing community of kid inventors – effectively expanding the company’s reach from educational toys ($80 billion market) and edtech ($60 billion market) to the $36 billioninformal learning market.
“littleBits is reinventing learning – at home, at school, and everywhere in between,” said Ayah Bdeir, founder and CEO of littleBits. “Kids are using littleBits to create their own sibling alarms, program wireless robots, and learn math, grammar or design thinking at school. But learning is a journey: hardware is just the start, and new inspiration and skills have to be added all the time. DIY Co. is an important piece of littleBits’ ongoing engagement strategy, ensuring that kids are having fun and expanding their creative skills throughout their journey.”
littleBits’ first offering with DIY Co. will be a set of online courses based on three new STEAM kits that the company is launching in Fall 2018. The kits will invite kids to learn from expert mentors and inventors, get inspired, and share their work with other kids. DIY Co. sees very high engagement within its kid community; kids upload 58 hours of content for every one hour of content created by JAM.com, and 65 percent of kid videos get peer feedback.
Click here to get first access to the new littleBits’ course on JAM.
“To capture kids’ imaginations, we need to teach them where they have interest,” said Zach Klein, founder of DIY Co. “We’re really excited to combine forces with littleBits to show that creativity can be at the core of learning anything. We can create gateways for family time and fulfill parents’ desire for healthy screen time, while also helping kids develop creative confidence and skills for the future.”
The acquisition closed on July 24, 2018. littleBits is pleased to welcome Klein to its executive team as President of DIY, as well as his 15-person team including 20-year education expert and executive Chalon Bridges. littleBits also welcomes DIY Co.’s investors to its roster, including Spark Capital, Learn Capital, and Kleiner Perkins.
The announcement follows littleBits’ launch on August 1, 2018 of the littleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit, in collaboration with Marvel.
littleBits is the New York-based education startup that invented the electronic building block. These magnetic “Bits” snap together to turn ideas into inventions. At the intersection of physical and digital play, littleBits transforms the way kids learn so they can grow up to be tomorrow’s changemakers – no matter their age, gender, race, nationality, or ability. Up to 40 percent of the kids using littleBits kits are girls, which is four times the industry average.
littleBits was founded in September 2011 by Ayah Bdeir, an engineer and interactive artist. An alumna of the MIT Media Lab, Ayah’s TED talk about littleBits: “Building Blocks that Blink, Beep and Teach” has garnered more than one million views.
littleBits has partnered with leading media and education companies, including Disney and Pearson, to develop licensed products and curriculum. The company has won more than 150 awards in tech, education, and toys, including The Toy Association’s 2018 Creative Toy of the Year, Common Sense Education’s “2018 Top Pick for Learning,” CNN’s “Top 10 Startups to Watch,” and one of CNBC’s “Next List.” A STEAM leader at home and in the classroom, littleBits has sold millions of kits in over 70 countries. The company has raised more than $65 million from prominent tech investors such as Foundry Group, DFJ Growth, True Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Morgan Stanley, and Disney.
For more information, please visit www.littleBits.com.
About DIY Co.
DIY Co. operates educational services for kids and their families. Our customers are families who seek safe and enriching online activities, as well as supplements and alternatives to school. Our subject matter spans the spectrum of science, tech, arts, building and engineering, covering a range of topics from Astronomy to Cryptology to Rapid Prototyping to Woodworking.