Vsauce’s Curiosity Box is off to a new home.
The STEM-focused subscription box has been acquired for $12 million by educational subscription box company MEL Science, a source familiar with the matter tells Tubefilter.
Vsauce—which, for those unfamiliar, was founded by Michael Stevens and breaks down science, math, psychology, and other academic topics for more than 26 million subscribers on YouTube—debuted the box in 2016. It delivers four packages per year filled with, as the company puts it, “advanced science products accompanied by high-level experiments, demonstrations and lessons on everything from angular momentum and differential pressure to electromagnetic force.”
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Jake Roper, one of Vsauce’s longtime YouTube hosts and COO of Curiosity Box, tells Tubefilter the box currently has more than 10,000 active subscribers. To date, it’s created more than 170 custom products, shipped more than 300,000 individual boxes, and raised $200,000 for Alzheimer’s research.
Roper says London-based MEL Science was a good fit for Curiosity Box because of its expertise in the STEM subscription space. MEL opened its doors in 2015 and offers boxes on coding, STEM, physics, and chemistry, with augmented reality and virtual reality components to augment its physical DIY projects.
“From our perspective, it allows us to now offer the best science kits with the best science toys, and it’s cool because it puts more science in people’s hands,” Roper says. “They also have an incredible tech platform that gives us more knowledge to emphasize augmented reality and update the products forever. So we can come up with new ways you can play with these cards, new things you can do with this chemistry set.”
“We are thrilled to join forces with the Curiosity Box team and I can’t wait to see what we achieve together,” Tara Hamilton-Whitaker, MEL Science’s COO, adds. “With the addition of their amazing creativity, storytelling skills, and unrivaled reach we further our mission to democratize science, encourage children to dream about what is possible, and empower them with the knowledge and confidence to achieve it.”
Roper says the full Curiosity Box team will be staying on with MEL Science to keep producing the kits. The only one who won’t be directly involved moving forward is him.
“It was very important to me that our team was taken care of and continues on,” he says. “Luckily, they agreed, so everyone is still there. Same team, just as involved as they were before, but ultimately I think we’re gonna be making more things because we have the resources to iterate and create new product lines much more quickly.”
He adds that from its launch, Curiosity Box was entirely self-funded by Vsauce, and has grown into a full-fledged company.
“I feel a bit vindicated because somebody saw this as an actual business worth actual money,” he says. “It wasn’t just, ‘Oh, it’s for your own audience.’ No, this is a real business. We built something. Creators do create actual businesses. It feels good to have a win for creators. We can build things that are worth something.”