Today I am excited to announce that littleBits is taking $11.1 million in investment, with two of the leading VC funds: True Ventures and Foundry Group leading the round. We already had incredible investors that supported us and helped us get to where we are (True Ventures, OATV, Khosla Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Neoteny Ventures, Mena Ventures and our amazing angels). Today we are thrilled to welcome into the family an amazing group of leaders in the space of hardware and technology: Foundry Group, Vegas Tech Fund and Two Sigma Ventures, and even more thrilled that Brad Feld will be joining our board.
In September 2011, I started littleBits with one mission: to put the power of electronics into the hands of everyone, and make everyone an inventor. We spent the last two years focusing on the word “everyone“, and built the most accessible, most extensive modular electronic construction kit out there. We reached outside the choir and saw people who never thought of themselves as “makers” jump in and create their own gadgets and toys with electronics. No matter if you were a designer from New York or a young boy from Singapore or Educator from NASA, we set out to enable you to make something within seconds: from an electronic doorbell to a fully responsive robotic installation. We set out to make electronics exciting, easy, gender-neutral, and age-agnostic, in short, we set out to make electronics accessible to everyone. By lowering the barrier to entry to its lowest possible level, and building a core product line of diverse Bits modules I am very proud to say that we have earned the word “everyone” in our mission.
Now, the next phase of littleBits is about focusing on the word “power“. We want to enable you to make complex, programmed, connected and powerful things with our electronic bricks. We want to enable everyone to make things that they otherwise would have to be an engineer, or spend months or tens of thousands of dollars to build. This is part of a larger movement: 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. But electronics remains a very top-down industry, and is still prohibitive to non-engineers. We want to democratize electronics to bring the power of electronics to everyone, so that society can be creative with electronics in the way it is with other world-changing technologies.
A few weeks ago, we announced the Synth Kit, created in partnership with KORG, a leading global manufacturer of electronic musical instruments. The easy to use, high-quality analog modular synthesizer is the first of a line of products that raise the ceiling of complex invention made possible through littleBits. In the coming months, we are releasing two game-changing products (including partnerships with world class leaders in science and technology) that will fulfill the disruptive potential of littleBits as a technology, and help make littleBits the most versatile physical/digital invention platform in the world.
I wanted to extend a personal thank you to every single person that has supported littleBits from its early days: our amazing team, our investors, our friends and families, and most of all, our incredible customers who keep surprising us with what they make, and what they want to make.
I cannot express my excitement in writing this: but I promise you, it’s only the beginning.
About our investors
Investors in littleBits’ new funding round include True Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in promising companies like Automattic (makers of WordPress), Fitbit and Makerbot; Foundry Group, a Colorado-based fund who invests in early-stage information technology, Internet and software startups; Two Sigma Ventures, a division of Two Sigma Investments, which invests in and helps support companies pursuing innovative uses of science, data, and technology; and VegasTechFund, an early stage fund founded by Tony Hsieh.
Previous investors who also participated in this round include Khosla Ventures, a fund dedicated to computing, Internet, mobile and silicon technology; Neoteny labs, fund of Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab and former CEO of Creative Commons; Mena Ventures, fund of prominent Arab entrepreneur Fadi Ghandour; O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, the venture fund known for kickstarting the Maker movement; Lerer Ventures, a seed stage venture fund based in New York; Joanne Wilson, prominent angel investor, Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab and One Laptop Per Child, Jeffrey Walker, educator, advisor to the MIT Media Lab and former managing partner at JP Morgan.
Additional angel investors include Jun Makihara, Jay Dvivedi, and Mohamed Nanabhay as well as investors in previous rounds including telecom mogul Taha Mikati, financial investor Salah Chamma and angels Josh Spear and Jason Port.