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Recently, one of our customers, Sphero, had an exciting announcement. The Boulder-based robotics company has a place in the new Star Wars movie, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, due to hit theaters this December.
Here’s the story: Last summer, Sphero executives participated in a Disney accelerator program. Paul Berberian, Sphero CEO, saw appeal in the program as both a business and networking opportunity. So, Berberian and Sphero’s two founders, Ian Bernstein and Adam Wilson, went to California for four months.
Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive, showed up with sketches of BB-8 – a ball-based robot appearing in the next Star Wars film. Seizing the opportunity, Berberian and his colleagues brought Iger a working prototype of BB-8 within twenty-four hours. Ten months later, Sphero had a finished product for the movie – which led to the creation of a BB-8 toy. For more about the collaboration with Disney, read this interview between Fortune Magazine and Berberian.
Last week, on “Force Friday,” all licensed Star Wars toys hit retail shelves. The most talked about product was BB-8, a miniature form compared to what’s in the movie. The $150 toy, from Boulder’s Sphero, was incredibly popular. Within 10 hours of its release, Sphero.com sold out of more than 10,000 units. Not surprisingly, retailers expect Star Wars merchandise to monopolize holiday shopping.