Piper, a San Francisco, CA-based provider of DIY computer kits for kids, secured $2.1m in seed funding.
Backers included Princeton University, Reach Capital, 500 Startups, FoundersXFund, Jaan Tallinn (co-founder of Skype), and Jay Silver (founder of Makey Makey).
The company intends to use the funds to expand its product offering, with the creation and distribution of PiperEDU.
Founded in 2014 by Princeton graduate Mark Pavlyukovskyy, MIT graduate and Stanford fellow Joel Sadler, and Harvard graduate and Google Science Fair winner Shree Bose, Piper provides the Piper Computer Kit which includes all of the the pieces 7-12 year old kids need to assemble their own computer, including a Raspberry Pi 3 microcomputer, an HD LCD display, a powerbank, a speaker and a puzzle-like wooden case that they assemble to house their computer.
As the computer is on, the PiperCraft learning system teaches kids engineering and programming through a combination of storyline, physical building, and Minecraft gameplay. The core Piper experience introduces engineering, electronics and programming, allowing kids to create and program their own electronic gadgets through a custom Minecraft story mode designed specifically for education.
PiperEDU is a new product for K-12 educators that will allow the company’s products, powered by the latest Raspberry Pi 3, to be integrated into classrooms all over the world. Students can learn programming, engineering and electronics as they assemble their own computers and build gadgets to solve Minecraft challenges.