The Raspberry Pi is a small low-cost computer aimed at helping children learn programming

Credit: Raspberry Pi/PA

The organisation behind Britain’s bestselling personal computer – the Raspberry Pi – has sealed a $45m (£33m) investment after demand surged during the pandemic.

The trading arm of the Raspberry Pi Foundation has offloaded stakes to Lansdowne Partners and the Ezrah Charitable Trust in a move that values the operation at around $500m. The foundation is a charitable organisation whose profits are used to promote computing. Raspberry Pi was founded in 2009 by Eben Upton, who created a singleboard computer that has been widely used to champion programming in schools.

In March, The Telegraph reported that it was exploring ways to raise capital – including a potential London stock market flotation – as the move to working from home during lock down prompted strong sales of its $70 keyboard-based PC, the Raspberry Pi 400.

Mr Upton said: "In the past 13 years we have transitioned from just an aspiration – to get more computers into schools – to shipping over 42m PCs to more than 100 countries, while contributing over £30m in donations to our parent charity. We are pleased to welcome Lansdowne Partners and the Ezrah Charitable Trust as our first outside shareholders to help us achieve the next steps in our growth."

Eben Upton the founder of Raspberry Pi

Credit: David Rose

Nearly all of Raspberry Pi’s devices are manufactured in Britain, with sales notching an all-time high of 7.1m units last year and profits of £11.4m.

Raspberry Pi became an overnight success in 2012 when the first device went on sale and sold out immediately, attracting a horde of novice hackers and those who yearned for the days of the 1980s’ BBC Micro.

The organisation operates by designing the products before licencing them to manufacturing partners who pay Raspberry Pi royalties.

Around 90pc of its products are exported overseas, but it opened an experimental bricks-and-mortar store in Cambridge two years ago.

In October 2020, it released the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, the most powerful computer board in its series at $25.

It was followed by the launch of the Raspberry Pi Pico in January, a $4 unit built on a new RP2040 microchip developed by the organisation.