Makeblock Co. Ltd, the STEM education and robotics startup, today announced it has closed a $30 million Series B round at a $200 million valuation led by Evolution Media China and Shenzhen Capital Group Co., Ltd. The funding supports Makeblock’s expansion into new markets, further product development and diversification of STEM education hardware, software and curriculum resources for educators, children and hobbyists.
Founded in 2011 (founded as a company in 2013), Makeblock is a leading DIY robotics construction and programming learning platform for makers, hobbyists, STEM learners, and educators. Makeblock provides over 500 mechanical parts and easy-to-use electronic modules, graphical programming software, and courses to easily turn ideas into reality. Having delighted over 1,000,000 makers, students and educators in over 140 countries and still growing, Makeblock is one of the top robotics companies making a difference, with the aim to open the field to people of all skill levels.
Makeblock will expand its global footprint with new offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, North America, Japan, and the Netherlands. Makeblock is available in more than 140 countries with 1,600 channel partners, and 20,000 schools and educational organizations implementing Makeblock’s products into their educational curriculum.
“We’re excited to support Makeblock at this pivotal point in their growth as they continue to elevate STEM education to a new level,” said Jason Ding, President at EMC. “STEM education is the next industry to experience deep disruption, following in the footsteps of the mobile, IoT and virtual reality industries. Over the past few years, Makeblock has been leading the charge in creating STEM education products in the classroom and at home. We believe this is just the beginning of their path to transforming education.”
Since 2016, Makeblock experienced significant growth, expanding its workforce to over 300 employees. Makeblock will use this latest round of funding to invest in further STEM education distribution, global expansion, and the development of new initiatives built upon its recent work with Microsoft, Intel and beyond. The company will also be expanding its retail reach in the coming months, deepening its partnership with Barnes & Noble and SoftBank to put Makeblock products in more stores across the globe.
“Creation is happening everywhere at an explosive rate. From schools using Makeblock to teaching STEM concepts, to tech giants like Microsoft, Intel, Apple Education tapping Makeblock to unleash creativity in the classroom, down to parents at home trying to aid in their child’s education, the true power of Makeblock is to inspire creation,” said Founder and CEO Jasen Wang, “Our goal is to get Makeblock in every school, home and creative space to give anyone, at any age the ability to be a creator or inventor.”
Additionally, the funding will support the launch of Makeblock’s first annual robotics competition later in 2017, which will encourage students to compete with their creative projects using the Makeblock platform. This competition is in support of Premier Li Keqiang’s “Thirteenth Five Year Plan” on education announced in 2016.
Makeblock’s latest products, Airblock, a modular STEM drone that raised $830,000 in December 2016 on Kickstarter, will be available for purchase in retail stores starting May 2017, and Neuron, the new product Makeblock also announced via Kickstarter in March–a programmable electronic blocks platform for open-ended gadget building, which raised over $100,000 in less than 12 hours.