Thimble

Early Stage

Live STEM classes + robotics kits to bring hands-on coding to every school

Analytics

Raised to Date: Raised: $254,983

Aggregate Commitments $

Platform

Republic

Start Date

11/25/2021

Close Date

02/26/2022

Min. Goal

$25,000

Max. Goal

$1,000,000

Min. Investment

$100

Security Type

SAFE

Funding Type

RegCF

Series

Pre-Seed

Valuation Cap

$8,000,000

Discount Rate

20%

Rolling Commitments $

Status

Active

Reporting Date

01/19/2022

Days Remaining

38

% of Min. Goal

1,020%

% of Max. Goal

26%

Likelihood of Max
unlikely
Avg. Daily Raise

$4,636

Momentum
hot.svg
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Location

Buffalo, New York

Industry

Education, Training, & Coaching

Tech Sector

EdTech

Distribution Model

B2B/B2C

Margin

Medium

Capital Intensity

Low

Business Type

Growth

Thimble, with a valuation of $8 million, is raising funds on Republic. The education company is making STEM learning easy for students with its live STEM classes and robotics kits. The classes are taught by experts, and the kits bring hands-on coding experience to all the students. The company offers group learning solutions through school classrooms and direct to individual learning at homes. Thimble has reached 20,000 students in 300 schools and generated $1.2 million in revenue through July 2021. Oscar Pedroso founded Thimble in January 2013. The current crowdfunding campaign has a minimum target of $25,000 and a maximum target of $1,000,000. The campaign proceeds will be used for hiring, expansion of marketing, and building a more robust sales team.

Summary Profit and Loss Statement

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Revenue

$46,480

$123,693

COGS

$17,336

$57,347

Tax

$0

$0

 

 

Net Income

$-261,484

$-272,544

Summary Balance Sheet

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Cash

$36,101

$5,697

Accounts Receivable

$0

$7,000

Total Assets

$141,213

$113,745

Short-Term Debt

$1,064,566

$974,799

Long-Term Debt

$199,186

$0

Total Liabilities

$1,263,752

$974,799

Financials as of: 11/25/2021
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Ratings KingsCrowd Startup Rating Methodology Article

Analyst Report Analyst Report Methodology Article

Synopsis

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in America is below par. The Programme for International Student Assessment found that the United States places 38th out of 71 countries in math proficiency among 15-year-olds and 24th in science proficiency. Plus, 46% of scientists believe that mandatory STEM education in America is below average. Computer science education is particularly lacking because it isn’t even taught at a huge number of schools. While computer science classes have become dramatically more popular in the last several years, only half of schools in the US offer them. 

Recommendations from the National Conference of State Legislatures state that STEM subjects should be included in educational curriculums as early as possible. However, several barriers inhibit widespread adoption of high-quality STEM education. Many teachers lack STEM content knowledge, particularly in more modern disciplines like computer science. Inequality is also a pervasive issue in STEM education. STEM is often perceived to be best suited for older students or for gifted students rather than the full student body.

Thimble hopes to remedy the sad state of STEM education in the US with its hands-on robotics, coding kits, and classes. Thimble primarily partners with schools and extracurricular programs to deliver its curriculum. The company has reached 20,000 students in 300 schools across all 50 US states and 30 other countries. Thimble kits and classes are also available to consumers, typically parents looking to supplement their child’s classroom education. By making robotics and coding concepts accessible to all types of students (particularly girls, students of color, and students with special needs), Thimble hopes to create a new, diverse generation of engineers. 

Thimble’s current Republic raise has been rated a Neutral Deal by the Kingscrowd investment team.

Price

Thimble is raising a Crowd SAFE at an $8 million valuation. This price is relatively fair, given that Thimble has been around for several years and has already impacted tens of thousands of students with its robotics and coding kits. Thimble’s intrinsic value lies not only in its robust and ever-growing curriculum (including physical kits, live classes on Zoom, and a library of pre-recorded content and quizzes) but also its established relationships with school districts and other educational institutions. As the company deepens its focus on these business-to-business partnerships in coming years, those existing contacts could generate meaningful revenue. However, it’s worth noting that Thimble’s current revenues are relatively low (just $46,480 in 2020), and revenues declined by more than half between 2019 and 2020. Those figures make an $8 million valuation a bit more questionable.

Market

Electronic learning (e-learning) is a very large and growing market. Students have been supplementing their in-person classroom education with online videos for years. Khan Academy (founded in 2007) was an early leader in e-learning. These days, the e-learning market is mature, with scores of companies offering e-learning solutions for both classroom and at-home use. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated the adoption of e-learning technology due to the necessity of virtual solutions during global lockdowns. 

These days, the global market for e-learning is estimated to be worth $250.8 billion. It’s projected to reach $457.8 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.3% over the next five years. The US market makes up a large share of that global total, with a $90 billion market size as of 2021. 

Thimble is offering STEM e-learning products at an excellent time. There’s never been greater demand for alternative learning solutions, particularly as many households continue to struggle with the long-term effects of pandemic-related learning loss. While there is a great deal of competition in this space, the market is large enough that Thimble has the chance to generate major revenue by meeting the needs of certain niches. 

Team

Thimble was founded by Oscar Pedroso, a first-generation college graduate who holds bachelor’s degrees in math and economics from the University of Rochester. After college, Pedroso worked as a grant program coordinator and outreach coordinator at Rochester General Hospital. He later built GradFly, a social networking platform designed to help high school students showcase their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects for college admissions purposes. Connected to Pedroso’s work with GradFly, he mentored middle and high school students in STEM competitions. All of this focus on making STEM accessible for all students led Pedroso to found Thimble. 

The Thimble team also includes Joel Cilli, head of curriculum (sometimes listed as a co-founder). Cilli is an experienced online educator who works in curriculum development and instruction for several other organizations (including his own YouTube channel). Cilli holds a BA and MS in education. Several other staff members also work for Thimble (apparently part-time, given minimal salary expenses on Thimble’s profit and loss statement). These team members include an online instructor who leads Thimble’s classes, customer success professionals who work with schools to implement Thimble curriculums, and a marketer and content writer. 

Overall, the Thimble team is strong in that it includes multiple educators with many years of experience communicating technical concepts to students. Given their past work histories and their last six years of experience working on Thimble, Pedroso and Cilli likely have a strong understanding of the electronic learning industry and how to forge partnerships with school districts and other educational institutions. While this team doesn’t include any established entrepreneurs or particularly well-credentialed leaders, the Thimble team has the strong foundation necessary to build a company in this space.

Differentiators

Over the last decade, many companies have begun offering science, math, and coding kits or courses for kids. Thimble’s products closely resemble those of other companies. Thimble appears to be slightly differentiated from the average science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning company in that it offers a trifecta of physical building kits, live online classes, and an online library of pre-recorded content and quizzes. While this all-in-one approach certainly provides a more comprehensive learning experience, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Thimble faces less competition. In fact, the company is open to more competition from all sides, in kits, courses, and live classes. Any company that currently only offers one of those three could easily add either or both additional offerings and compete directly with Thimble. Several already do. Educators and parents have a lot of options when it comes to STEM learning kits, and there aren’t any clear reasons why they should choose Thimble. Overall, Thimble is not well-differentiated.

Performance

Thimble is a relatively small business that has had a mighty impact on students. Over the last six years, Thimble has reached 20,000 students in 300 schools across all 50 states and 30 countries. With Thimble’s focus on reaching students underrepresented in science and math professions, such as female students, students of color, and students with special needs, the company’s success has made great strides in improving the diversity of STEM. 

Financially, though, Thimble hasn’t been quite as successful. The company has generated $1.2 million in lifetime revenue over the last six years. In 2019, Thimble brought in more than $123,000 in revenue. In 2020, revenue dipped significantly to just $46,480. Despite relatively low operating expenses, Thimble has posted a net loss of roughly $272,000 and $261,000 over the last two years. The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly impacted Thimble’s revenue in 2020, likely because school districts were so disrupted that business-to-business sales slowed. Clearly, Thimble’s direct-to-consumer sales didn’t close the gap. 

Thimble seems to be making progress on large school district and educational institution partnerships that could stabilize revenue in coming years, but the company doesn’t report any major successes in its raise materials. Without better revenue growth, Thimble may not be a profitable investment opportunity.

Risks

An investment in Thimble comes with a decent amount of risk. The two primary sources of risk are team and financials. Thimble’s team is small, and most staff members seem to be part-time. Without more team capacity, Thimble may struggle to close valuable business-to-business deals and continue launching additional kits or courses. That slowness wouldn’t bode well for Thimble’s finances, which are already unimpressive. The company lost more than 50% of its revenue between 2019 and 2020 (which isn’t fully addressed in its raise materials) and has only generated $1.2 million in revenue in total over the last six years. In sum, investors might have questions about Thimble’s operating stability.

Bearish Outlook

Thimble is a socially conscious company building solutions that improve kids’ education and, in the long term, diversify the field of engineering. Unfortunately, it’s not clear that Thimble would be a profitable investment. The company has grown slowly over the last six years. It was also hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 2020 revenue at less than 50% of 2019 revenue. Thimble hasn’t yet been able to prove that there are enough school districts or individual parent buyers to bring in enough revenue to fund a sustainable business. Competition might be one problem. Schools and parents have a wide range of options for science and math learning kits, and Thimble doesn’t have any particular competitive advantages that will help it build market share. All in all, Thimble might remain a small (but impactful) business.

Bullish Outlook

Thimble is a company with a double bottom line: profit and impact. So far, Thimble has struggled to find success on the profit side. The impact side, though, is doing well. With more than 20,000 students served in the US and abroad, Thimble is making a meaningful difference in teaching kids about robotics and coding – particularly students who are underrepresented in those fields. 

In addition, electronic learning is a large and growing market with a lot of opportunity for many companies to succeed. The pandemic illustrated the need for high-quality virtual learning solutions and also created a learning gap that may take years to overcome. Thimble is well-positioned to serve those needs. It’s also promising that the federal government has earmarked funds to address pandemic-related learning loss. Thimble foresees this as potential revenue from school districts searching for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning solutions. Success isn’t guaranteed with this lean team, but Thimble has the potential to continue growing slowly and making an impact for both students and investors.

Executive Summary

Thimble is a hands-on electronic learning company that offers robotics and coding kits for kids. These kits are supplemented by both live online classes taught over Zoom and an online library with pre-recorded content and quizzes. Put together, these kits and courses offer a step-by-step curriculum to help kids learn the basics of engineering. Thimble has served more than 20,000 students so far, many of them underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The team is led by individuals with extensive educational experience, and the company’s valuation is relatively fair. The market is huge and growing, so Thimble has lots of potential to address the growing demand for virtual STEM-focused learning solutions.

But Thimble has also grown slowly over its last six years of operation. The company had a rough 2020, bringing in less than half of the revenue it generated in 2019. Limited income has kept the Thimble team lean, which slows sales and innovation, creating sluggish growth. There are a number of competitors that offer similar services, which may hamper Thimble’s market potential. While Thimble is making an impressive impact in education, it may not be a high-quality investment opportunity. Therefore, Thimble has been rated a Neutral Deal. 

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd analyst report or ratings for this company, please reach out to support@kingscrowd.com

Analyst report written on December 17, 2021. 

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Thimble on Republic 2021
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Platform: Republic
Security Type: SAFE
Valuation: $8,000,000

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