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R2-D2 and Ayah Bdeir share the spotlight at Disney Demo Day


Littlebits founder Ayah Bdeir announced a new partnership with Disney on Thursday for a children’s online video series encouraging invention and creativity.

The announcement was made at Disney’s third annual demo day. It followed a three month Disney Accelerator program, which gave companies like Littlebits mentorship from Disney executives and access to work with all divisions of The Walt Disney Company.

Screenshot of presentation at Disney demo day on October 13, 2016.

"Technology and innovation are at the heart of every experience at The Walt Disney Company, and Disney Accelerator puts us on the ground floor with some of the most promising startups in the world through a program aimed at accelerating the future of media and entertainment," said Kevin Mayer, senior executive vice president and chief strategy officer of The Walt Disney Company in Thursday's statement

During the announcement, Bdeir advocated for finding the intersection between the arts and STEM, dubbed STEAM, in children’s education. STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

“Our future depends on getting kids engaged in STEAM,” she said. “We have to prepare them for a future that we cannot even anticipate [and encourage children to be] lifelong learners and creative inventors so they can grow up to invent the world they want to live in.”

The series will be launched in a few weeks.

Bdeir also announced another project in collaboration with the Star Wars team, giving kids the opportunity to tell their own stories. Interrupted by R2-D2 on the stage, Bdeir did not disclose more details on the project.

Littlebits is an the open source hardware startup of technology kits that lets children become inventors with a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks.

The company raised over $44 million in 2015 in what was said to be one the biggest Series B funding rounds of the maker movement. The round led by DFJ Growth (investors in Tesla, SpaceX and Box) included Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, Wamda Capital and Grishin Robotics.

Founded in 2011, the company has raised a total of $60 million in investments.

Feature image is a screenshot of Bdeir's presentation at Disney Demo Day.

October 14th 2016, 5:37 am
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