Amira Learning, a Silicon Valley Start-up, closed a $3 million seed round to launch an artificially intelligent reading tutor. Amira is the first intelligent reading assistant able to listen to children read out-loud, assess their oral fluency and provide AI-driven tutoring. Amira is based on technology licensed from Carnegie Mellon University, which spent 20 years developing this break-thru innovation.
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Amira Learning Raises $3 Million Seed Round to Debut an AI Reading Tutor
Leveraging 20+ Years of Research at Carnegie Mellon, Amira Assesses, Reads Along With and Coaches Young Readers
September 10th, 2018 -- Amira Learning, the startup reinventing learning to read with AI, closed a $3 million seed round, lead by Vertical Ventures Partners, and with addition participation from other leading seed funds and the CEO.
The round will fund the upcoming launch of the first Intelligent Reading Assistant able to help developmental readers master foundational reading skills. Research shows that mastery of reading by the end of grade 3 is highly correlated with a child’s future quality of life. Those who fall behind end up 4x more likely to drop out and face significantly lower career earnings.
Carnegie Mellon University’s AI team worked for more than two decades to produce technology able to replicate the dynamic of an adult reading along with a child, bootstrapping the young reader’s vocabulary and comprehension with interactive coaching. CMU’s project generated more than 100 published papers and culminated in multiple successful field tests. Amira is extending Carnegie Mellon’s AI break-throughs with automated Oral Reading Fluency assessment and enhanced speech recognition, readying the Intelligent Reading Assistant for use in U.S. schools.
“Amira is a force multiplier for stretched teachers," said Mark Angel, CEO of Amira Learning. “Reading is an unnatural act. Proficiency requires an enormous number of practice hours. For the first time, technology is able to supplement the efforts of teachers, parents and grand-parents, actually helping a child learn to read.”
Amira is the intersection of reading science and Artificial Intelligence. She is an engaging avatar that listens to children’s speech, detects reading errors, responds with targeted interventions and uses advanced analytics to provide insight to teachers.
Benefits for Students
As documented in published research, Amira delivers reading gains 3x greater than the baseline technology used in most classrooms today;
Compared to students reading silently alone, reading with Amira works significantly better. Research shows very large comparative effect sizes in the .9 to 1.3 range;
In studies done by CMU and DePaul University in public school classrooms, Amira produced reading growth comparable to giving each student a human tutor.
Benefits for School Districts
Amira automatically administers Curriculum Based Measurement assessments. For the first time, Districts can easily and regularly track oral reading fluency across all their young students;
Field studies demonstrate that Amira is particularly effective in aiding English Second Language learners. Districts can use the Tutor to help eliminate the gap confronting bilingual students around exposure to English;
The intelligent reading assistant is the instrument for equity, long sought by Districts. Amira gives every student, even those lacking a strong family network, personalized coaching.
Benefits for Teachers
Teachers are stretched. Amira is an incredible time-saver, eliminating the overhead around observational assessment, ending the tedium of making Running Records, enriching practice to free up time for instruction.
As Amira works with each student, her AI spots impediments to growth. The Intelligent Reading Assistant’s diagnostic alerts deliver daily insight to help teachers better personalize and differentiate their instruction.
For a personalized demo of Amira, email infoamiralearning.com.
About Vertical Venture Partners
Vertical Venture Partners (“VVP”) is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm founded in 2015 by Dave Schwab, a 20-year veteran in early stage technology investing. VVP focuses on making Seed and Series A investments in B2B technology companies targeting pain points in specific vertical sectors as opposed to those providing horizontal technologies to many industry sectors. The VVP team has decades of operating and investment experience gained from diverse backgrounds in venture capital, research & development, investment banking and advanced technology.
Please visit www.vvp.vc to learn more.
About Amira Learning
Amira Learning is re-inventing learning to read with AI. Amira is the first interactive avatar able to assess, read along with and coach developmental readers. Amira utilizes technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University and is led by the former senior technical managers at Renaissance Learning, the leader in Reading Assessment and Practice software in K-12 classrooms.
For more information, visit www.amiralearning.com.
For additional information:
CONTACT Mark Angel