littleBits - Review of the Top Hardware Startups


Launched by Ayah Bdeir in 2009, littleBits won over 20 awards at the MakerFaire Bay Area in the same year. Between then and 2013, the startup garnered over $14 million in funding for its product: kits and components that bring DIY electronic and programing capability to almost anyone. The kits include a variety of small modules, such as sensors, sound and light components, and power, and let users create anything from home security components to a toy Mars Rover. Consumers can buy kits for certain projects, or purchase deluxe kits that contain basic modules needed for multiple electronics products.

Bdeir's product isn't the first in the electronic education space–soldering kits have been around for years. But littleBits are easier to use thanks to snap–together technology, and the small, colorful modules lend to education in a variety of environments. We like littleBits as a hardware startup because of the sheer diversity and market potential of the product. DIY electronics gurus can invest in dozens of kits, including an Arduino coding kit. Schools can use the electronics to teach computer, design, engineering, and basic science lessons, and littleBits even works with other hardware companies to engage consumers and boost awareness of STEM activities and education.

In early 2015, littleBits partnered with 3D printing company Shapeways to host a contest. Entrants had to modify a traditional home object, such as a toothbrush, using littleBits modules and 3D printing to make the object more useful, efficient, or smarter. Such interactive marketing tactics are bringing littleBits slowly into the public eye, which bodes well for the continued success of this hot hardware startup.

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