First, we are thrilled to announce that we just closed our very first round of financing! After 3.5 years of bootstrapping, research and development (translation: blood, sweat and tears), littleBits is taking in investment from some of the biggest technology leaders in the world, including two of my personal heroes: Joi Itoand Nicholas Negroponte .
As a student at the MIT Media Lab, I experienced first hand Nicholas’s vision for what technology can mean when it becomes a tool for creativity. littleBits is a system of modular electronics that snap together with magnets for prototyping and play. It’s the pipe cleaner and popsicle stick of the 21st century, it’s about breaking the barrier between the electronics we consume, and the ones we create, and helping to nurture the next generation of problem-solvers.
Joi, as the former CEO of Creative Commons – where I was a fellow – (and current director of the Media Lab), brought openness to a new level, solidifying our belief that a creative society is an open one. littleBits is open source and building a community of contributors that can redesign, share online and learn from each other’s creativity. We are very excited to have Joi and his fund (Neoteny Labs) leading the round — and with this first investment in open hardware, giving our movement a vote of confidence and support.
The round also includes some of the biggest technology leaders in the Arab world like Lebanese telecom pioneer Taha Mikati, and Fadi Ghandour, CEO of Aramex, the 1st Arab company to go public in the US. Also included in the round are angel investors Josh Spear, Jason Port, Joanne Wilson and Salah Chamma.
Second, I just got word yesterday that littleBits has been acquired by MoMA for its collection! This means our first edition bits will have a home snuggled in between a Picasso and the Post-It. Needless to say, this is an extraordinary honor. We were already humbled to be in amazing company with some of the best contemporary interactive works at the Talk To Me show (up until November 7th, 2011).
We’ve had an amazing year so far. We’ve been featured in the New York Times Magazine, and showcased on Inc Magazine … and just launched our first starter kit at Maker Faire (available in limited quantities, get yours quick!), winning an Editor’s Choice Award along the way.
So what’s next? We’ve just taken office space at the wonderful collab in the West Village, we’re working on the next 30 modules to grow the library and will be expanding our manufacturing capability. Maybe most exciting, we will be working with teachers to bring littleBits to schools, after school programs, and universities (if you’re interested in chatting about this, email us).
We are also looking to grow, and calling on superstars (and superstars-to-be) to join our core team! If you believe in our mission, we’d love to meet you.
Congrats Ayah and team, during all this time she also co-chaired the Open Hardware summit. This makes littleBits the 4th open-source hardware company to receive funding (Chumby, BugLabs, MakerBot and now littleBits).
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.