Educational carnival producer Two Bit Circus has raised a $6.5 million to create more pyrotechnics, robots and laser shows for kids.
The funding round from Techstar Ventures, Foundry Group and Intel Capital will be used to add a national carnival tour, develop original content for virtual reality and the Web, and to expand its business of providing entertainment to conferences and events.
And with cash in hand, downtown’s Two Bit is ramping up quickly.
“We have to put on a carnival for 20,000 people in downtown San Francisco in two weeks,” said Chief Executive Brent Bushnell about the company’s upcoming STEAM Carnival being held at Pier 48. “We are taking over two football fields.”
Two Bit’s events are focused on igniting interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math. The events feature video games, stage shows, aerialists, robots and interactive science exhibits. The company makes money on sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandise and food, said Bushnell. Cartoon Network and Cisco Systems Inc. have sponsored events in the past.
Two Bit had not raised outside capital before, relying instead on throwing smaller events for corporations and organizations. The company has also produced a number of virtual reality films.
Last year, Two Bit produced its first ever large-scale carnival in Los Angeles. After the event was judged a success, the company started looking to expand, Bushnell said. The startup plans to host two to six similar carnivals over the next 12 months.
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