Co-founders John Schuster and Nate MacDonald met while working at a Marin County, CA, school district. Nate was teaching math and offering an elective STEM course to middle school students, and John was hosting “lunch and learn” events to teach kids circuitry. (His “real” job was in the district’s IT department.) Determined to better engage their students, they teamed up to find the best ed-tech toys for understanding circuits and how they work. After reviewing a number of electronic kits — and even hacking some to create the quintessential teaching tools they envisioned — Nate and John decided the only course was to make their own. A crude early design was launched at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 and their first company, IgnitED Learning, was born. (The name was later changed to Tenka Labs, “Tenka” meaning “ignited” in Japanese.) John soon quit his job in order to concentrate full-time on prototyping the set of electronic tiles that eventually became Circuit Cubes. A year later, Nate ended his teaching career to devote himself full-time to designing a toy line that is as much fun to use as it is educational.