The Raspberry Pi celebrates its fourth birthday

Production Problems

The demand for the Rasp Pi exceeded the the developers' wildest expectations. As a result, the Foundation soon found itself confronted with a big problem. With this huge demand, there was simply no money to fund the production of hundreds of thousands of the boards. The initial money for the Foundation to buy components and pay for production had come from Upton and his colleagues.

The Foundation also lacked the logistics capacity for meeting the demand for the little computer. They decided to engage the two leading electronics distributors in Britain; Premier Farnell (element14 group) and RS Components were brought on board as partners. They offered financial strength and worldwide contacts, and they began selling the Rasp Pis in their online shops.

However, on February 29, 2012, web servers for both of these companies crashed due to the multitude of customers wanting to purchase the Rasp Pi. Just a few minutes after making the single-board computer available for sale in its shop, RS Components reported that the first batch of 10,000 items had been sold out [2]. As part of the partnering deal, RS Components and Premier Farnell had purchased a license to manufacture the boards. And, because of the heavy volume of demand, it was possible to keep startup costs low. At the same time, sales operations were expanded to include the entire world.

Production issues were resolved after a few months. By September 2012, a slightly improved revision 2 of the original Rasp Pi had been released. Additionally, the three partners had managed to move most of the production from China to the UK by using a factory located in Pencoed, Wales, which belonged to Sony [3]. Production capacity increased to 30,000 units per month along with the creation of 30 new jobs. Since then, capacity has grown to 100,000 boards per week, and all of the Rasp Pi versions are manufactured in parallel.

Organizational Structure

Because of the overwhelming success of the computer, the Foundation transferred development and operational activities to a new company: Raspberry Pi Ltd. Today, a close relationship exists between the non-profit foundation and the commercial enterprise. The Foundation is focused primarily on educating children and youth about the computer, offering workshops and instructional materials for teachers.

Starting in 2015, the Foundation has been supporting The MagPi, a magazine started by enthusiasts in 2012. The Foundation also created a fund, seeded with EUR1.3 million, in 2014 to promote projects that teach IT skills to children between the ages of 5 and 18 years [4]. Former ARM coworker Lance Howarth has served as CEO for the Foundation since April 2013. Eben Upton is CEO of the Raspberry Pi Trading Ltd. [5].

An advisory board has assumed representation of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The members include co-founders David Braben, Jack Lang, Pete Lomas, and Alan Mycroft, as well as attorney Louis Glass and businessman David Cleevely, who serves as chairman [6]. The University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and chip manufacturer Broadcom support the Foundation, and profits from sales are funneled back into the Foundation for supporting social causes.

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