China: Education startup Makeblock closes $30m Series B round

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Visual of Airblock, a programmable drone made by Makeblock. Visual from Facebook page.
Visual of Airblock, a programmable drone made by Makeblock. Visual from Facebook page.

Shenzhen-based Makeblock Co. Ltd, a STEM education and robotics startup, has secured $30 million in Series B funding at a $200 million valuation. Evolution Media China and Shenzhen Capital Group Co Ltd led the round.

The new investment brings Makeblock’s aggregate funding to over $36 million. The funding supports Makeblock’s expansion into new markets, as well as further product development and diversification of STEM education hardware, software and curriculum resources for educators, children and hobbyists.

With the infusion of capital, Makeblock will expand its global footprint with new offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, North America, Japan, and the Netherlands. The funding will also support the launch of Makeblock’s first annual robotics competition later in 2017. This is meant to promote the use of Makeblock’s construction platform by students in their creative projects.

Currently, Makeblock is available in more than 140 countries with 1,600 channel partners, and 20,000 schools and educational organisations implementing Makeblock’s products into their educational curriculum.

“We’re excited to support Makeblock at this pivotal point in their growth as they continue to elevate STEM education to a new level,” said Jason Ding, President at Evolution Media China.

Evolution Media China, which is based in Beijing, was launched in early 2016 by Evolution Media Partners and seeks strategic investment targets in the media, entertainment, sports, technology, advertising, the Internet, and lifestyle sectors across Pan-Asia, with a focus in China. It launched with a corpus of $350 million, which is in addition to $500 million in capital controlled by Evolution Media.

Evolution Media Partners is the investment and advisory arm of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and Evolution Media Capital. Evolution Media China is a joint venture (JV) of Evolution and private equity major TPG Capital, which is the majority owner of CAA.

Since 2016, Makeblock experienced significant growth, expanding its workforce to over 300 employees worldwide. Makeblock will use this latest round of funding to invest in further STEM/STEAM education distribution, global expansion, and the development of new initiatives built upon its most recent work with Microsoft, Intel and beyond.

The company will also be expanding its retail reach in the coming months, deepening its partnership with Barnes & Noble and SoftBank to put Makeblock products in more stores across the globe.

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