PCH-accelerated start-up LittleBits raises US$11.1m in Series B round

20 Nov 2013

LittleBits, a New York company to emerge from Cork man Liam Casey’s PCH Accelerator has raised US$11.1m in a funding round led by True Ventures and Foundry Group and two new investors Two Sigma Ventures and Vegas Tech Fund.

Also participating in the round are returning investors Khosla Ventures, Mena Ventures, Neoteny Labs, O’Reilly AlphaTech, Lerer Ventures and an all-star lineup of new and returning angel investors noted below.  

Previously, the company raised US$3.65 million in Series A funding and US$850,000 in Seed funding, bringing its total funding to date to over US$15 million. In June 2012, littleBits announced a partnership with global company PCH International to lead its Supply Chain Management.

“We are delighted to partner with littleBits and are really excited about their potential for future growth, as PCH continues to help them to scale up,” said Liam Casey, CEO of PCH International.

“The littleBits team are incredibly innovative; their passion about the brand, design and the consumer experience is what makes littleBits an ideal partner for PCH.”

LEGO for the iPad generation

Developed to inspire innovation in hardware, littleBits lets users create circuits in seconds, with no soldering, programming or wiring required.  

Part prototyping tool, part tech gadget, littleBits has been recognised as “LEGO for the iPad generation” and heralded as the most easy to use electronic construction kit in the world.

The brand’s Bits modules revolutionise the way people interact with technology by breaking electronics down to their very basic parts (lights, sounds, sensors, motors, programmable circuits), and making engineering fun and accessible to “non experts” of all ages including children, teachers, artists, designers, makers, hobbyists and tech-enthusiasts.

“Over the past years we have seen high technology-innovation move from the hands of large corporations to the hands of amateurs in the areas of software, game development and 3D printing,” said Ayah Bdeir, founder and CEO of littleBits, MIT Media Lab alumna and TED Senior Fellow.

“But electronics remains a very top-down industry, and is still prohibitive to beginners. littleBits aims to democratise electronics to allow anyone to become an inventor and make anything from an electronic doorbell to a fully responsive robotic installation. In the company’s initial phase, we focused on our core products and built the most extensive, easy to use, and highly modular electronics library out there, with close to 50 modules that enable motion, lights, sounds and sensing.

“This new round is about the second phase of our vision: to take this library and build the most versatile physical/digital invention platform in the world,” Bdeir said.

Bdeir was featured in a TED talk in 2012, which has garnered more than 700,000 views worldwide.

Internet of things

Not only an empowering player in the maker revolution, littleBits’ technology could also be a key player in the rise of the internet of things.

littleBits has won over 20 awards, sells in over 60 countries and is a leader in the maker movement. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) added littleBits to its permanent collection.

“Well before the Cylons take over, every device we own will be connected to the Internet,” said Brad Feld, managing director of Foundry Group.

“As the maker revolution has exploded, we are now all learning about how to build both software and hardware. littleBits is an amazing company at the forefront of this and we are delighted to be able to join them on their journey,” Feld said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years