3D printer manufacturer Robo has completed acquisition of educational lesson provider MyStemKits.
We first encountered MyStemKits several years ago and were impressed with the vision of the company to provide actionable lessons in 3D design and 3D printing to educators. The key to their success was their deep involvement of actual “educators, innovators, parents, and technology specialists” in the process. We like anything that gets children more involved in 3D and 3D printing, as you might suspect.
Since their launch in 2015, MyStemKits has gradually expanded their operations, most recently deploying their offerings to locations outside the USA. Specifically, they delivered educational packages to 600 schools in the UAE.
Meanwhile, Robo has grown significantly from their early days as a startup. Their first machines were attractive initially due to their low cost, but users quickly realized they were well built and provided good quality results. That’s almost always a formula for success.
Since then they’ve iteratively released better equipment and their market has expanded appropriately. As one of the few desktop 3D printer manufacturers from the early days that are still standing, they are clearly a company that is well managed.
In 2016 Robo took an unusual step of expanding through a reverse corporate takeover, in which a shell Australian company, one listed on an Australian stock exchange, “bought” them. In this way Robo became a publicly traded company without a lot of fuss.
That step enabled them to accept more investment from the public, and that cash in turn permitted them to take several strategic steps.
What did they do with the cash, specifically? One of the first things they did was secure a deal with MyStemKits to provide content to fuel their educational market push. MyStemKits’ content instantly makes Robo equipment far more enticing for educators to purchase simply because there is far less work required to set up lessons for 3D printing using the machine. Alternative purchase options would typically require educators to do much research and development to prepare proper lessons for their students.
That was a good move, as most successful desktop 3D printer manufacturers also operate a parallel content environment:
MakerBot – Thingiverse
Ultimaker – YouMagine
Formlabs – Pinshape
And there are other similar pairings. Formlabs in particular caught up by purchasing Pinshape in a last-minute deal before the content provider shut down.
Now it seems that Robo is making the same move by completing a full acquisition of MyStemKits. Now not only will they have the MyStemKits content, but they will no doubt prevent other 3D printer manufacturers from using it.
They’re deploying the MyStemKits content in package form. One offering, the “MyStemKits K-12 Curriculum School Plan”, lists at US$4,000 and is described as follows:
“With the School Plan of MyStemKits, up to 8 teachers will have unlimited access to over 240 lessons that are standards-aligned for the entire year for up to 250 students. The School Plan also includes full online training that will help you get started on bringing STEM curriculum into your classroom. MyStemKits is the world’s largest library of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum with turn-key 3D printable kits for K-12 school that are developed and extensively tested by leading STEM researchers at Florida State University.”
Robo CEO and Co-Founder Braydon Moreno says:
“Lots of exciting stuff in the works, but our most recent news is the completion of the acquisition of MyStemKits, which allows us to have a full end-to-end 3D printing solution for education. This is going to be a powerful solution for schools, students, and teachers alike. We have already seen the success MyStemKits has had in the classroom in a multitude of ways and we plan to continue this educational mission!”
Thus Robo’s strategic path is locked in stone: they are servicing the educational market.