Amira Learning Secures $5 Million in Series A Funding
Investment led by Owl Ventures, with participation from GSV AcceleraTE, Rethink Education, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Amira Learning, Inc., the first AI-powered reading assistant, today announced it received $5 million in a Series A investment round, led by Owl Ventures, with participation from GSV AcceleraTE, Rethink Education, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Amira listens to young students read aloud, assesses reading mastery, and provides real-time, personalized tutoring for every child. Amira helps teachers across America support more students to become motivated and masterful readers.
“Two-thirds of American children are not proficient readers even by 4th grade,” said Mark Angel, CEO and co-founder of Amira. “We’re grateful to have the support of Owl Ventures, Rethink Education, GSV Accelerate, HMH and Vertical Ventures Partners to help us execute on our mission to reinvent learning to read with AI. This investment round further validates Amira as a game-changer. With backing from three of the top edtech venture funds, Amira is poised to become the first AI software to impact student growth and achievement.”
The Series A includes investment from strategic partner HMH. “As a learning company focused on driving positive student outcomes, HMH understands how critical foundational literacy skills are to long-term success,” commented Jack Lynch, CEO, HMH. “Amira has harnessed the latest advances in learning science to build purposeful technology solutions that empower educators by giving them time back to focus on critical student needs. This fundraising round is a testament to Amira’s potential to impact literacy education for millions, and HMH is proud to be a partner.”
“We’ve invested in Amira because they are focused on solving a critical problem for students in the United States and around the world,” said Amit Patel, Managing Director at Owl Ventures. “No matter what country you live in, learning to read at an early age is a vital skill, and Amira has the potential to impact student literacy globally”.
Research has shown that the essential ingredients for reading success are meaningful practice and feedback. But, millions of children today do not receive enough practice or feedback, and every year, students are reading less and less. Moreover, early reading success dictates life success, as students who are not proficient readers in 3rd grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school, have 60% lower employment rates, and experience a 34% decrease in lifetime earnings. The need for better supports is particularly acute for students with dyslexia and other learning disorders, English language learners, and children from low-income households. Imagine software reading along with 5 to 10-year-old children, working with them on whatever books they like, providing help whenever they get stuck or make a mistake, and giving teachers and parents actionable insight about the areas of instruction to focus on next. That software is Amira.
This investment round builds on Amira’s momentum. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the leader in K-12 learning, recently launched a partnership with Amira around early literacy assessment and practice. Amira was named a winner of the ISTE Best of Show 2019, one of eight finalists for the 2019 SXSW EDU Launch competition, top innovator in the Global Startup Super League at 2019 EdTechX Europe, and leading AI solution at the 2018 Global Education Summit. The new funding enables Amira to continue expanding into classrooms across the country.
Amira is being used by leading school districts, including the IDEA Public Schools, Stockton Unified School District and the Oakland Diocese.
Amira leverages decades of research at Carnegie Mellon and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston to:
- Save teachers time by automating Oral Reading Fluency assessment and Running Records;
- Accurately monitor student growth and progress by continuously analyzing student ability as they read out loud;
- Validly and efficiently screen to identify students at risk for development of reading problems, including dyslexia;
- Practice one-on-one with every student, delivering interactive, real-time tutoring and interventions.
To see in Amira in action, access this video.
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 and is led by the former senior technical managers at Renaissance Learning, the leader in Reading Assessment and Practice software in K-12 classrooms. In field research conducted by leading Universities, Amira has demonstrated the ability to help children grow as much as giving each child their own certified human tutor. For a personalized demo of Amira, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Owl Ventures
Owl Ventures is a Silicon Valley based venture capital fund that invests in the world's leading education technology companies across all stages from early to growth. The firm has invested in over 30 companies across the education spectrum encompassing early childhood, K-12, higher education and career mobility/professional learning. Owl leverages its deep domain expertise and takes an active hands-on approach to help entrepreneurs scale their businesses into transformative category leading companies. The firm was founded in 2014 and has over $600 million in assets under management. http://www.OwlVC.com
About Rethink Education
Rethink Education invests in early and growth-stage companies that are developing technological solutions to 21st century learning. Launched in 2012, ReThink Education supports startups that are focused on learning outcomes by pursuing business models that are scalable, efficient, and unique. To learn more, please visit ReThink.vc/Education
About GSV AcceleraTE
GSV is a global community and investment platform singularly focused on elevating the scope and scale of innovation in the $7 trillion education and workforce sector. Through GSV AcceleraTE Funds I and II, we support and invest in the very best technology entrepreneurs in the “preK to gray” learning and talent world. The GSV ecosystem includes the world renowned ASU GSV Summit co-hosted for 11 years with Arizona State University – rated the US’s most innovative university every year since 2016.. The Funds hold over 40 portfolio holdings combined including Andela, Coursera, Course Hero, Degreed, Fairygodboss, Pluralsight, and Turnitin among others. We invest in entrepreneurs and their companies that are Bending The Arc of Human Potential to give ALL people access to the future. To learn more, please visit https://gsvaccelerate.com/
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ: HMHC) is a learning company committed to delivering integrated solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K–12 core curriculum, supplemental and intervention solutions and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students’ potential and extend teachers’ capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 3 million educators in 150 countries, while its award-winning children's books, novels, non-fiction, and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.
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