London-based edtech startup pi-top has cut a number of staff, TechCrunch has learned.
According to our sources, the company has reduced its headcount in recent weeks, with staff being told cuts are a result of restructuring as it seeks to implement a new strategy.
One source told us pi-top recently lost out on a large education contract.
Another source said sales at pi-top have been much lower than predicted — with all major bids being lost.
Pi-top confirmed to TechCrunch that it has let staff go, saying it has reduced headcount from 72 to 60 people across its offices in London, Austin and Shenzhen.
Our sources suggest the total number of layoffs could be up to a third.
In a statement, pi-top told us:
pi-top has become one of the fastest growing ed-tech companies in the market in 4.5 years. We have a unique vision to increase access to coding and technical education through project based learning to inspire a new generation of makers.
As part of this vision we built up our global team with a view to winning a particularly exciting national project in a developing nation, where we had a previous large scale successful implementation. We were disappointed this tender ultimately fell through due to economic factors in the region and have subsequently made the unfortunate but unavoidable decision to reduce our team size from 72 to 60 people across our offices in London, Austin and Shenzhen.
Moving forward we are focusing on our growth within the USA where we continue to enjoy widespread success. We are rolling out our new learning platform pi-top Further which will enable schools everywhere to access a world of content enhanced by practical hands-on project based learning outcomes. We have recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign and we look forward to releasing our newest product pi-top.
We are also proud to have appointed Stanley Buchesky as our new Executive Chairman. Stanley brings a wealth of experience in the ed-tech sector and will be a great asset to our strategy going forward.
Pi-top sells hardware and software designed for educational use in schools. It’s one of a large number of edtech startups that have sought to tap into the popularity of the “learn to code” movement by piggybacking atop the (also British) low-cost Raspberry Pi microprocessor — which provides the computing power for all pi-top’s products.
Pi-top adds its own OS and additional education-focused software to the Pi, as well as proprietary cases — including a bright green laptop housing with a built-in rail for breadboarding electronics.
Its most recent product, the pi-top 4, which was announced back in January, looks intended to move the company away from its first focus on educational desktop computing to more modular and embeddable hardware hacking that could be used by schools to power a wider variety of robotics and electronics projects.
Despite raising $16M in VC funding just over a year ago, pi-top opted to run a crowdfunding campaign for the pi-top 4 — going on to raise almost $200,000 on Kickstarter from 521 backers.
Pi-top 4 backers have been told to expect the device to ship in November.