Two Bit Circus Scores $6.5 Million to Build Tech Entertainment Co.

With voice-controlled lasers, fire dunk tanks, and battling robot bands, Two Bit Circus is on a mission to re-invent live entertainment with technology that amazes as much as it educates.

Co-founded by entrepreneur Brent Bushnell and roboticist and inventor Eric Gradman, the Los Angeles-based group has grown slowly during the past decade. What began as an occasional contract to produce interactive tech exhibits at events hosted by Microsoft and Intel has evolved into a full-time occupation and in 2012 became a standalone startup.

Now, Techstars Ventures and Foundry Group have co-led a $6.5 million investment in Two Bit Circus with participation from Intel Capital, VentureWire has learned.

Two Bit Circus, which will produce its Steam carnival at San Francisco’s AT&T Park this November, will use the infusion to take the carnival to new locations, turn select exhibits into standalone products and continue inventing new ways to delight their audiences.

circus sector hasn’t been disrupted since Cirque du Soleil, and that was 20 years ago,” Techstars Ventures Managing Partner Mark Solon said. “This is not your typical venture deal, but you don’t get outsized returns from following the crowd.”

Inspired by a combination of large spectacle shows and empowered by technological breakthroughs in sensors, cameras and other components, Two Bit Circus aims to entertain attendees and then inspire them to learn how what they just saw actually works.

To learn more about how Two Bit Circus plans to grow and how Mr. Bushnell’s father Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell supports the project, please read the full story in VentureWire.

Write to Lizette Chapman at Follow her on Twitter at @lizette_chapman