BOULDER — Sphero Inc., the toy and robotics company that catapulted to success in 2015 with its make of the Star Wars BB-8 droid — has raised nearly $24 million in private equity and looks to raise another $19 million more, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The fundraising round is in anticipation of new products slated to release later this year, and will go toward general business operations, chief executive Paul Berberian told BizWest.
Sphero’s success started when the company was involved in a Disney accelerator in 2014. During that time, Berberian said the company managed to spend some time with the CEO of the Walt Disney Co., who showed Sphero images from the new Star Wars movie.
“He said, ‘look at this character, it looks like what you’re doing with the Sphero ball,’” Berberian said. “He knew we knew how to build something that was balancing on a ball. We built it a few months later. It was a happy coincidence that we had the perfect product for that character.”
The app-enabled toy had massive success, selling out when the movie was released. Since then, Sphero has released a special edition version of the toy and a band that lets people move their BB8 droid by moving their hand.
Sphero said it’s collecting capital from multiple entities, including new and existing shareholders.
The funds will go to investing in the business, including expanding product lines, marketing and managing inventory.
Looking ahead, Sphero expects to release five major products this year.
“If you thought what we built before was cool and sophisticated, just wait to see what is coming out this year,” Berberian said. “BB8 is awesome and so is everything else. We’ve got some really cool stuff.”