LittleBits is making its first acquisition. The New York-based educational hardware company has agreed to acquire DIY.co, an educational social network for kids. Co-founded in 2011 by Vimeo’s Zach Klein, the San Francisco-based software startup is behind the DIY.org online community and jam.com, a subscription-based STEAM educational platform.
“Over the years we’ve explored dozens of acquisitions, strategic deals, mergers,” littleBits founder and CEO Ayah Bdeir told TechCrunch. “We’re very actively looking at that stuff all the time. But DIY, Zach and his team stand out as a match made in heaven.”
DIY’s product will serve as the software foundation for littleBits’ projects moving forward. For starters, the company will provide a kind of software instruction booklet for littleBits’ kits, including a trio of new ones due out this fall. Those will follow the startup’s recent Avengers kits, the second product to take advantage of its Disney accelerator connections.
From there, its seems pretty clear how the company’s social networking and hundreds of hours of online instructional videos will complement littleBits’ long-standing goal of empowering children through STEM educational tools.
“We’re creating an environment where kids are teaching kids,” Klein tells TechCrunch. “That was our mission from day one, to create a space where kids can develop learning strategies for other kids, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to education. We’re creating an environment where kids are forging the pathways that other kids can find and follow.”
DIY will stay in its San Francisco office, allowing littleBits to expand its presence to the West Coast, where most of its investors are based. The company name and sub-brands like Jam will also remain intact, allowing littleBits to leverage the cachet the brand has built over the years, including some 1.5 million projects uploaded by 550,000 registered users.
DIY’s team of 15 will also stay on, joining littleBit’s existing staff of 100+ employees.
“The expertises are really complementary,” says Bdeir. “Zach’s team, their skill set is in software product and community building and content creation. Those are things we don’t have a lot of expertise in. We wouldn’t be doing this if we weren’t bullish about the future. This is the beginning of us doing many more aggressive steps to becoming the leading learning through play company in the world.”
LittleBits is clearly starting to put to use some of the $65 million it’s raised, by growing the company through acquisitions and other means. In the case of DIY, the deal is certainly a complementary one.
“This combination isn’t just about merging two mission-aligned brands,” Jon Callaghan, co-founder of littleBits investor True Ventures, told TechCrunch. “It’s reflective of a larger trend among consumer brands like Peloton and Netflix that recognize that quality content is, once again, king.”
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.