Shenzhen-based Makeblock (HAX 01) is gaining STEAM in the U.S.—literally. The HAX graduate develops DIY robotics kits for kids and teens to practice mechanical, electronic, and software skills using LEGO-like components. According to a recent Fast Company spotlight on the company, Makeblock’s robots are now used by more than six million users in 140 countries. This educational robotics tinkering isn’t just happening at home, either. Makeblock’s STEAM kits and tools are being used in more than 25,000 schools globally.
Makeblock’s products give educators, kids, and hobbyists the tools to assemble and control robots with little to no knowledge of code. With Makeblock’s target user base being 6- to 12-year-olds, the company builds kits including wires, motors, wheels, LED lights, sensors, fasteners, and metal body frames to build drivable and flyable robots. These customizable bots operate via a laptop or mobile phone and can be coded using drag-and-drop embedded graphics.
In August, Makeblock closed a $44M Series C funding round, bringing the company’s total value to $367M. The startup plans to put the funding toward boosting international sales, marketing, and additional research and development.
Speaking to Fast Company on Makeblock’s mission, CEO and founder Jasen Wang said: “The key point is not to teach [kids] how to code. We provide them with a tool to realize their ideas. So, programming is one way for them to tell their ideas to the machines. It’s very hard for them. If you provide a platform, that can make it easy.”