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Empowering Creativity With littleBits

By Jon Callaghan, July 18, 2012

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We’re thrilled to announce our lead investment in the groundbreaking startup called littleBits, founded by the brilliant Ayah Bdeir.

littleBits is a platform of electronic modules that magnetically join together in unlimited combinations, inspiring the creator in everyone, whether they’re 2 or 85 years old. Each “bit” has a simple, unique function (light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, pulse, motors, etc.), and modules snap together to make larger circuits, allowing anyone to create interactive electronics projects without any background in engineering, programming or wiring. littleBits brings fundamental creativity back to everyday life, demystifies electronic component design and hardware creation for the world, and empowers all of us to create.

littleBits is about play, imagination, creativity, learning and fun. Watch a child create with a pack of littleBits, and you can feel the creative impact of this platform.

littleBits have been called “Legos for the iPad generation,” and not since Legos has a product so celebrated the expansiveness of creativity in all of us, whether we are makers, artists, builders or players. With over $60 billion in annual sales, it’s remarkable that the toy industry has thus far been immune to digital innovation. Though we’ve seen tons of exciting innovation in video and social games, toys are mostly non-digital, and there are very few toy platforms.

Since its debut in September 2011, littleBits has created and released over 30 products on the market. The company has been overrun with demand and has sold to parents, artists, designers, developers, schools and universities in countries including the U.S., Canada, India, Japan, the UK, Australia, Mexico and Chile. The Museum of Modern Art has acquired littleBits for its permanent collection, and Popular Science named littleBits “Best of Toyfair 2012.” And as several publications (WSJAllThingsD, GigaOm, CNet) covered today, littleBits has secured a major partnership with PCH International to manufacture and distribute littleBits at a huge and growing scale.

Equally as magnetic as littleBits is Founder Ayah Bdeir, who is one of the most dynamic, visionary and resourceful Founders we have ever met, and a true embodiment of the creative and passionate Founder we love to work with at True. We had heard about Ayah for a long time from many of our True founders including Jeevan and Dave from Sifteo, who were classmates of Ayah’s from MIT, Zach Kaplan from Inventables and Kai Bachman from Tinkercad, who all talked about Ayah’s particular brilliance. With the maker community such enormous fans, we knew we had to work with her. Other True friends from the ecosystem sang her praises and encouraged us along the way, including Michael Karnjanaprakorn of Skillshare, Ben Kaufman of Quirky, and many others.

At True, we strive to invest in Founders of movements (like Matt Mullenweg at WordPress or Luke Kanies at Puppet); we are also incredibly inspired by products that capture the imagination (like Fitbit, MakerBot, TypeKit and Madefire) and we believe that the maker movement and hardware both represent exceptional investment opportunities over the next many, many years (we’re invested in MakerBot, Tinkercad, and Inventables, to name a few).

littleBits captured our imagination because of the brilliance of Ayah, the enormous market trends driving its opportunity, the product’s overwhelming success to date, and most of all because of its noble mission. What inspires us most about the littleBits platform is its profound long-term impact—the children who build with littleBits will be building the next generation of iPhones, iPads and Fitbits, designing the next Skype, and envisioning a world where everything is possible.

We’re incredibly excited for this journey to begin, and we’re thrilled to welcome littleBits to the True portfolio.