LittleBits, the New York-based open source hardware startup that produces modular snap-together circuitry kits, announced this morning that it has raised just over $44 million in its Series B funding from DFJ Growth as well as Morgan Stanley, Grishin Robotics, and Wamda Capital, among others. This is one of the largest rounds to come out of the Maker Movement, and will give littleBits an extra boost to fuel what has already proven to be an extremely profitable enterprise.
Since it launched four years ago at World Maker Faire New York 2011, littleBits has developed and released a plethora of kits and expansion pack products, as well as tools to allow the community to develop and sell their own bits. It had raised in total just over $15 million in funding prior to this latest round of financing. Prior investors that participated in this new funding round include Foundry Group, True Ventures, and Khosla Ventures.
With its Series B funding come some new additions to the littleBits executive team. Jenny Lawton, former CEO of MakerBot, joins the leadership team as chief strategy officer. Barry Schuler of DFJ Growth joins the board of executives. Former Lego executives Paal Smith-Meyer and Christian Thor Larsen have been hired onto the littleBits strategic committee on global product and marketing expansion. Joey Neal, another former MakerBot employee and previously at R/GA, steps into the role of vice president of user experience and digital product. Finally, Shirish Joshy, previously vice president of operations at Pluribus Networks, joins littleBits as vice president of supply chain.
The team has big plans for their Series B funding. It will go towards furthering STEM/STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), pushing global expansion, and developing new enterprise strategies. LittleBits is also partnering with Barnes & Noble Stores in an initiative to sell their circuitry kits in brick and mortar retail spaces across the U.S.
The news of the funding itself is commonplace enough in the world of hardware startups, but the momentum that littleBits has garnered and how this momentum will fuel their initiatives in STEM/STEAM education and in democratizing hardware make them a company worth watching.