DIY electronics and coding products combat problematic screen time epidemic facing children, turning them into active creators of technology
SAN FRANCISCO – Sep. 14, 2017 – Piper, a leading STEM education company that empowers inventors of tomorrow through technology-driven play, closed $7.6 million in Series A funding led by Owl Ventures, a VC fund focused on edtech innovators. Piper’s first product, a DIY computer kit inspires creative confidence and empowerment by seamlessly transforming kids’ passive technology consumption to active learning through problem-solving skills. The new funding will help Piper build an expanded ecosystem of products that allows children of all ages to continually expand their STEM skills. 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.
Piper aims to combat the overwhelming use of passive screen consumption that youth are prone to today. Kids 8 to 12 years old are spending a scary amount of passive screen time consuming technology — an average of four hours and 36 minutes a day, to be exact. This time ramps up to over six hours a day for teens. Too much screen time for older children is associated with problems including psychological stress, difficulty with social interaction, and bad grades. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families take part in selecting and viewing media with children, particularly so children can use technology to learn and grow. Piper’s Computer Kit allows kids to play an active role with technology, building and learning rather than mindlessly consuming content.
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 Enable 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,” said Mark Pavlyukovskyy, co-founder, and CEO of Piper. “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.”
About Owl Ventures:
Owl Ventures is a venture capital fund that invests in the world’s leading education technology companies. We back entrepreneurs with solutions that seek to meaningfully drive improvement in student achievement. We are laser focused on the education market and take a hands-on approach in helping entrepreneurs scale their businesses into transformative category leading companies. http://www.OwlVC.com
Headquartered in San Francisco CA Piper, is a leading STEM education company that empowers inventors of tomorrow through technology-driven play. The Piper team is made-up of inventors, parents, scientists, artists, engineers, dreamers and explorers. Led by Princeton graduate Mark Pavlyukovskyy and MIT graduate and Stanford fellow Joel Sadler, Piper launched in 2014 and has raised $10.1 million in funding from Owl Ventures, Reach, and Stanford’s StartX Fund. The Piper Computer Kit helps kids build confidence through hands-on learning about electronics, coding and more, and is used by more than 500 schools throughout the United States and in more than 750 schools worldwide. Piper is the leading STEM educational toy on Amazon, and is available to consumers via major retailers and directly from the Piper website.
To learn more about Piper:
Head of Communications, Piper