Shenzhen Capital Co-leads $29M Round In Chinese Robotics Firm Makeblock

Airblock, a modular drone that can be turned into a hovercraft and car, will be launched in May 2017.

Evolution Media China, an investment firm founded by U.S.-based Evolution Media Partners, and Chinese investment firm Shenzhen Capital Group Co., Ltd. have led a RMB200 million (US$29 million) series B round in a Shenzhen-based Makeblock, an educational programmable electronic robot kit building start-up.

The round valued the company at US$200 million post-money, according to Chinese media reports citing insiders.

Founded in 2011, Makeblock develops do-it-yourself educational robot parts for primary and middle school students and a robot education platform called STEAM. It partners with 1,600 companies, and its products are used in over 20,000 schools in the world. Around 60% of its revenue come from the international market, the company said.

Makeblok plans to launch a new programmable starter drone Airblock in May this year. The product previously raised US$830,000 in crowdfunding platform Kickstarter last December.

"Recently, we are focusing on educational technology industry. It is a massive innovative market with supportive government policies and strong market demand. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and arts education is developing rapidly," said Shenzhen Capital Group in a statement. "Makeblock has the technology and understanding in the STEAM education industry, and we are confident the company will develop its platform with its technological advantages."

The company plans to use the latest proceeds to expand in the global market. It is seeking to partner with a number of technology companies and investment firms including Intel Corp, Microsoft Corp, and SoftBank Group Corp. to develop new products and expand sales. It also plans to establish offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherland and in North America.