North West-headquartered Tactus Group, a specialist in the development of consumer technology products, has expanded into the US market with an investment into pi-top, the coding and robotics firm that specialises in improving digital skills in education.
The investment will strengthen Tactus Group’s capabilities in coding and robotics, and bolster its offering in the education sector, following success on previous projects with the UK’s Department for Education.
The deal will also enable pi-top to tap into Tactus’ supply chain expertise, providing greater access to markets including China and the UK.
Founded in 2014, pi-top is one of the fastest-growing ed-tech companies, which aims to increase access to coding and technical education through its project-based learning software platform and its Raspberry Pi-based hardware.
pi-top has already nearly doubled its paying accounts in the first half of 2021. The firm has shipped over 100,000 computing devices and 150,000 accessories worldwide and positively impacted learning outcomes for over a million students.
With 41 employees, pi-top is headquartered in London, UK with offices in Austin, Texas and Shenzhen, China. The firm’s products enable schools and learners at home to blend physical computing with traditional computer science and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) education.
Tactus Group is a consumer technology business, specialising in gaming, education and entry-level computing. It employs 115 staff and is on track to hit revenues of £175m in FY22. It provides multi-branded IT hardware to global retailers and the public sector, developing a strong reputation and trading relationships with leading corporate technology businesses such as Microsoft and Intel.
The company’s product portfolio includes IT hardware, smart home technology and wearable tech apparel, which it sells through partnerships with online and high street retailers worldwide.
This investment follows Tactus’ £10m backing from private equity firm Arete Capital Partners earlier this year, and it used this funding to finalise the subsequent acquisition of gaming specialist CCL Computers in April 2021.
Scott Brenchley, CEO at Tactus Group, said: “The US is a lot more advanced when it comes to robotics in schools – it’s had a real focus on digital skills in recent years. With coding becoming increasingly important in education across the world, pi-top has a significant opportunity to expand its global customer base.
“We remain committed to keeping ESG at the heart of our investment rationale, and the opportunity to provide pupils globally with access to higher quality technology was a key reason behind the investment. I’m looking forward to working alongside the existing management team at pi-top to improve access for students to digital skills at an early age.”
Stanley Buchesky, CEO and Chairman of pi-top, said: “We are excited to have Tactus as a major backer. Their expertise in scaling high-tech businesses will be synergistic with our rapid growth. Tactus’ investment vision and dedication to corporate social responsibility fit well with our mission of making it fun and easy for students around the world to learn the job skills of the future.”