Educational STEAM company Sphero acquires LittleBits

26 Aug 2019427 Views

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Sphero hopes the move will accelerate international growth and facilitate more acquisitions to expand the company’s portfolio of STEAM tools.

On Friday (23 August), robotics and educational STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) company Sphero announced its intention to acquire LittleBits.

In a blogpost on Sphero’s website, the company said: “Over the past nine years, Sphero and LittleBits have each created entirely new categories of hands-on learning tools that enable invention and STEAM education through play and technology.

“Combined, the companies have reached over 6m students and 65,000 teachers across 35,000 schools globally – and have sold more than $500m in Sphero robots and LittleBits kits.”

Sphero said that through the acquisition, the company will become the largest player in its market, with a comprehensive offering of hardware, software, curriculum and training. Its portfolio will now contain more than 140 patents in robotics, electronics, software and the Internet of Things.

Paul Berberian, CEO of Sphero, said that the two companies are “on a mission to make hands-on learning fun and memorable”.

“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 synthesiser. There are infinite learning possibilities – and they’re all fun.”

Founder of LittleBits, Ayah Bdeir, added: “When I studied engineering, it was top-down, test-based. I hated it and wanted to quit every semester.

“Then I got exposed to the pedagogy of learning through play and my life changed. No one could peel me away from learning, inventing, creating. Together, LittleBits and Sphero are now bringing this experience to kids everywhere.”

Future plans

Following the acquisition, Sphero plans to accelerate international growth and acquire other products and companies to further expand its portfolio of STEAM products and tools.

The company added that Bdeir will be moving on from LittleBits to “pursue her next adventure”. Bdeir is a TED Senior Fellow, MIT Media Lab alumnus and one of Inc Magazine’s Top 100 Female Founders.

Since her company LittleBits was founded in 2011, it has closed licensing deals with Marvel and Star Wars. According to Crunchbase, the company has raised $62.3m since it was launched.

Berberian will remain as CEO of Sphero. The company will have offices in Boulder, New York and Hong Kong once the deal is closed. Sphero has raised $120.3m since it was founded in 2010.

Terms of the acquisition deal were not disclosed.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com