Startups

Sphero Acquires littleBits In Bid To Build STEAM Toy Powerhouse

On Friday, educational robotics company Sphero announced that it’s acquiring interactive building toy-maker littleBits.

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With this acquisition, Boulder-based Sphero is now the largest company in the educational electronics and robotics space.

According to a joint statement from the educational technology companies, together they “have reached over six million students and 65,000 teachers across 35,000 schools globally” and have made over $500 million in combined sales of Sphero robots and littleBits building kits. With the acquisition, Sphero now has a portfolio of over 140 patents spanning technology and applications in robotics, electronics, software, and IoT sensors, according to the company.

Paul Berberian, CEO of Sphero, said that “Sphero and littleBits are on a mission to make hands-on learning fun and memorable.” Continuing, “Together, we’re able to make an even greater impact by delivering the best possible solution — whether it is programming a robot to solve a maze or building an electronic music synthesizer. There are infinite learning possibilities — and they’re all fun.”

Teachers will now be able to access “hundreds of thousands of community-generated inventions and activities” and “over a thousand lessons tied to NGSS, CSTA and Common Core standards,” Sphero said in its statement.

Prior to its acquisition, littleBits had raised approximately $62.3 million in known venture capital funding, according to Crunchbase data. Its last round, a $46.7 million Series B deal, was led by DFJ Growth back in July 2015.

The size of the transaction and its terms were not disclosed. Following the acquisition, Sphero plans to accelerate its international expansion “and acquire other products and companies to further expand its portfolio of STEAM products and tools.” Sphero has offices in Boulder, New York, and Hong Kong. Berberian will continue leading Sphero as CEO, and littleBits founder Ayah Bdeir will be “moving on […] to pursue her next adventure.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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