Seedcorn Fund Case Study
Leeds-based CBIS Education is a robotics business that inspires young people to learn about engineering and computing.
CBIS Education was founded by programming entrepreneur Chris Burgess, who started out selling computer repair services from his parent’s garage as a teenager.
After being approached by a secondary school in Yorkshire to help teach students using robotics, Chris assembled robot kits for a two-hour workshop.
Buoyed by excellent feedback from pupils and teachers, he developed robotic car and arm kits that work ‘out of the box’, based on Raspberry Pi boards. These are accompanied by online lesson plans and a training programme for teachers.
The business now provides kits and resources to schools across the UK, along with overseas markets including South Africa and the UAE.
After experiencing growth of more than 250 per cent year-on-year, CBIS Education needed external funding to invest in robot equipment, hire people and grow sales.
Finance Yorkshire Involvement
Finance Yorkshire invested £150,000 in CBIS Education from its Seedcorn fund, which invests in innovative, technology-driven businesses.
The money will be used to buy parts and hire staff as the company looks to grow sales through educational distributors. It will also fund new product development, including a recently launched range of cardboard robot kits.
The Investment Rationale
Graham Davies, Investment Manager at Finance Yorkshire, said: “Chris has identified an opportunity to bridge the areas of educational hardware, cloud-based curriculum resources and teacher training. The company has grown strongly over the past two years and we’re looking forward to working with CBIS to develop its expertise, grow its product portfolio and enter new markets.”
Chris said: “Our niche is high engagement learning. If a student is totally engrossed in what they are doing, they will learn. These are the engineering graduates of the future. We provide teachers with the toolkit to maximise the potential of the learning opportunity.
“We were delighted that Finance Yorkshire agreed to support us. We can now look to explore the potential in more overseas markets.”
Note: this case study is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire