Bitsbox From 'Shark Tank' Is Available Now To Get Kids Excited About Coding
Every entrepreneur that walks through those scary Shark Tank doors wants to run a successful business. Otherwise, why would they risk being ridiculed by Kevin "Mr. Wonderful" O'Leary? While some companies may measure success in terms of revenue, others may judge it based on their impact on consumers and the world. I have a feeling that Bitsbox is one such company that values money as much as it does changing lives. And if you get Bitsbox from Shark Tank now, you might be able to do some good, too.
That unique business ideology may work in Bitsbox's favor when it enters the Tank on Friday, Feb. 17. But it could also work against the company since Shark Tank's millionaire and billionaire investors are mostly concerned with what's going to put more green in their pockets. If Bitsbox wants to find success on Shark Tank, it's going to need to show that it's first and foremost doing well in the business department.
But Bitsbox will have something major in its favor when it appears on Shark Tank Friday night. I could already see several of the Sharks being interested in investing in the company. Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, and Chris Sacca have all made their fortunes in tech. Kevin may be interested in the educational aspect of the firm, given his past work with the Learning Company. And I wouldn't be surprised if the "Queen of QVC" herself, Lori Greiner, wanted to sell Bitsbox on TV.
And if you learn a little bit more about Bitsbox below, you may be interested in shelling out a few bucks for it yourself.
It Wants To Grow The Next Generation Of Coders
Bitsbox is a company that combines two ideas that are very now in the business world. It aims to help kids get interested in coding through a subscription service that brings a box full of app projects right to their door every month. What child wouldn't want to receive a fun present every month that could have a profound effect on their future?
It's Surprisingly Simple To Use
If you sign up for Bitsbox, each month you'll receive a box full of coding projects where you can make everything from video games to puzzles to drawing tools to music apps, the company's website describes. Kids type the code featured in a book onto Bitsbox's website and work with it to make the app their own. They can then use and share the app they made on any mobile device.
The company's website purports that Bitsbox will be beneficial for children because the earlier they start to code, the easier it is to learn, and the simplicity of the projects, as well as the imitation and repetition featured in completing them will help kids learn the basics of coding. Knowing the fundamentals of keyboarding, spelling, and computer languages could give kids a leg up in becoming computer literate and encourage them to go into STEM careers in the future, which is certainly a good thing.
Kids Can Start Coding Now
Bitsbox offers various subscription packages depending on how much stuff you want to get in the mail. The Basic Bitsbox is suggested for "kids who are motivated by making" since it's the base set, which you can subscribe to through the company's official online store for $24.95 per month for a monthly subscription, $21.95 per month for a three-month subscription, or $18.95 per month for a 12-month subscription.
The Deluxe Bitsbox is described as "best for kids who are motivated by presents," probably because it comes with lots more stuff, such as toys, stickers, and collectible trading cards. You can subscribe to this set through the company's official online store for $44.95 per month for a monthly subscription, $39.95 per month for a three-month subscription, and $32.95 per month for a 12-month subscription.
If your child totally doesn't care about all that paper stuff, you can also subscribe to the Digital Bitsbox that arrives via email for $19.95 a month, which you can do through the company's official online store. Schools can also purchase Bitsbox kits for classrooms through the company's website.
Its Founders Are No Strangers To Code
If you subscribe to Bitsbox, you can rest assured that the product comes from people who know code. The company was founded by software engineers Scott Lininger and Aidan Chopra who now serve as Bitsbox's CEO/CTO and creative director, respectively. Before Bitsbox, Lininger and Chopra worked at Google, where they met, according to BizWest, and at the software company SketchUp, the founders' LinkedIn profiles list. It sounds like these guys are going to wow the Sharks with their smarts.
It Had A Strong 2016
Bitsbox seems to be riding high into 2017. The company was on pace to finish 2016 off with more than $1 million in revenue, BizWest reported at the beginning of December of last year. Bitsbox also raised $100,000 from AT&T through its six-month Aspire Accelerator, $735,000 from investors, and had $165,000 more on the way at the time, according to BizWest. The company had raised about $1.5 million as of the time of publication of that BizWest article. It also crowdsourced more than $250,000 in investments from a Kickstarter campaign. Will a Shark be the next to invest money in Bitsbox?
They Were Lucky To Get On 'Shark Tank'
So many companies audition to be on Shark Tank each season, but only so many can make it. Bitsbox was one of those lucky businesses, and the entrepreneurs behind the company were kind enough to share the secret to their success on Bitsbox's blog. But if you were expecting some epic story about Bitsbox's journey to Shark Tank, you're probably going to be disappointed. Here's how Chopra describes Bitsbox's journey to Shark Tank in the blog post:
We found out about an open-call audition in the same building as a trade show we'd already be attending in NYC. What the heck. Aidan put on a clean Bitsbox shirt, grabbed a box of our materials and joined the line of hopefuls dressed as unicorns and sharks. The rest is history.
Perhaps we should all take that matter-of-fact description of how Bitsbox made it onto Shark Tank not as apathy but as inspiration that anyone can make it onto this series.