STEM/STEAM Startup That’s Caught The Eye Of Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk, Closes $7.6M Series A Round
This year at ISTE 2017 we saw quite a few startups and companies that promised to teach kids coding, STEM and STEAM skills through creating things like robots and computers. Only one of those companies had the endorsement of Steve Wozniak, Mark Zuckerberg and the private school where Silicon Valley elite like Elon Musk send their children. That company is Piper.
Our then 9 year old edtech reporter was blown away by the fact that with Piper not only are you creating a working computer but then you can play Minecraft on it.
“Designed for kids aged 7-13, Piper teaches kids the fundamentals of computer programming, engineering and putting a computer together. Piper, available at Barnes and Noble, Toys R Us and other fine retailers along with the company’s website, promises to teach kids to build a computer from over 100 parts and a real engineering diagram. Kids will be able to build and program with immediate results. Then, kids can take the raw parts and create new projects.” we wrote back in July.
Piper entered the market through a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2015. In 2016 they closes a $2.2M seed round. Today they’ve announced that they’ve closed a $7.6M series A round led by Owl Ventures. Additional investors include past participants Reach Capital and Stanford’s StartX fund, as well as a new incoming investor, co-founder of Guitar Hero, Charles Huang.
The Piper Computer Kit includes all the components needed by growing creators including a display, breadboard, switches, mouse and a customized edition of the most popular education video game that engages kids with no experience or initial interest in electronics and programming encased in a handcrafted wooden box that echoes a laptop when opened.
Piper Computer Kits Enables Active Learning:
- Building buttons, switches, and circuit connectors encourage kids to explore and understand the technology behind the devices they use daily.
- Piper actively promotes narrative driven play and imagination using fun popular kid friendly, educational video games.
- By assembling and programming their own computer, kids learn soft skills like problem- solving and critical thinking.
“The Piper Computer Kit transforms the typical experience kids have with technology, giving them the power to create, versus empty, passive screen time. We’ve seen Piper kids grow in computing and engineering skills, and in their confidence to take on all kinds of challenges,” Mark Pavlyukovskyy, co-founder, and CEO of Piper said in a statement. “Owl Ventures has a reputation for helping education technology companies scale their businesses, which makes them the perfect partner to help battle the passive screen time consumption epidemic, as we bring Piper to more kids, both in school and at home.”
Piper provides tools to help students prepare for the careers of today and tomorrow. Jobs in STEM fields are expected to grow to more than nine million between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core, Piper products enable children to get hands-on with electronics. The Piper Computer Kit is already in use in more than 500 schools across the United States and in over 750 schools worldwide, and available via major retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Toys”R”Us and directly from the Piper website.
“Piper’s groundbreaking kit provides a breathtaking platform for a new generation to understand critical computing and engineering skills by providing a hands-on approach to technology learning,” said Jed Smith, Managing Director at Owl Ventures. “Piper is a phenomenal educational tool that invites kids to become creators of technology, not just consumers, and we look forward to supporting the company as they bring their products to more students across the world.”
You can check out Piper here at buildpiper.com