Biography

Short Bio:

Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits, the award-winning company that invented the electronic building block and empowers kids to be change-makers through invention and creativity. Bdeir is an alumna of the MIT Media Lab, her TED talk has over 1 million views and she has advised extensively on how to get more girls into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics), including at the White House and the World Bank. littleBits has sold millions of units and has led partnerships with Disney, Pearson, and the New York Department of Education. Bdeir has been named one of Popular Mechanics 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream, Inc. Magazine Top 100 Female Founders, and MIT Technology Review’s list of 35 Innovators Under 35.

 

Long Bio:

Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits, the award-winning company that invented the electronic building block and whose mission is to empower kids to be change-makers through invention and creativity. The company is the leader in education and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) and has partnered with industry giants, including Disney, Pearson, and the New York Department of Education.

Bdeir is an engineer, interactive artist and one of the leaders of the open hardware movement. Her career has centered on making education and innovation more accessible to people around the world and in 2010 she received a fellowship at Creative Commons which led to co-founding the premier conference on Open Hardware, the Open Hardware Summit. Since 2006 Bdeir has lectured and advised extensively on how to get more girls into STEM, including at the White House “Breaking down gender stereotypes in Media and Toys” panel, at the World Bank “Disrupting the Gender Divide” conference and on the “Women in the World” stage with Tina Brown.

An alumna of the MIT Media Lab, and of Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, Bdeir founded littleBits in 2011, after exhibiting a prototype at World Maker Faire in New York City. The prototype was later acquired into the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) permanent collection. In 2012, Bdeir was awarded the highly prestigious TED fellowship and her TED talk: “Building Blocks that Blink, Beep and Teach” has over 1 million views.

Through her work with littleBits, Bdeir has received countless awards including being named one of Popular Mechanics 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream, Inc Magazine Top 100 Female Founders, on the CNBC Next List and on MIT Technology Review’s list of 35 Innovators Under 35.

Bdeir received her master’s degree from the MIT Media Lab and undergraduate degrees in Computer Engineering and Sociology from the American University of Beirut.

Originally from Beirut, Ayah now lives in New York City.

 


 

Awards

2019

  • Crain’s Notable Women in Tech
  • Novim Group’s Science Courage Award

2018

  • Inc. Magazine 2018 Female Founders 100
  • STEM Hero of the Year award at VEX World Championship Competition
  • 2018 Connected World Women of M2M (WoM2M)
  • #MadeofMoxxie Award Winner
  • Top 25 Leading Woman Entrepreneur
  • Silicon Republic The Game-Changers of 2018

2017

  • Forbes Women @ Forbes UCnder 30: Closing the Tech Gap
  • Silicon Republic The Game-Changers of 2018

2016

  • NYSCI Creative Entrepreneurship Award from The New York Hall of Science
  • Marie Claire America’s 50 Most Influential Women
  • Crains New York 40 Under 40

2015

  • Disruptor Awards Honoree

2014

  • Inc. Magazine 35 Under 35
  • Popular Mechanics 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream
  • 2014 Entrepreneur Magazine 10 Up and Coming Leaders to Watch
  • MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35
  • CNBC Next List
  • New York Business Journal Women of Influence winner

2013

  • Fast Company Most Creative People in Business
  • TED Senior Fellowship
  • Ozy Rising Star

2012

  • TED Fellowship

2011

  • Maker Faire Editor’s Pick

2010

  • Creative Commons Fellowship
  • INK Fellowship

2008

  • Eyebeam Senior Fellowship

2007

  • Eyebeam Fellowship