Ello, a pioneering AI reading coach startup, has announced that it has raised $15 million as part of its Series A financing round led by Goodwater Capital, with significant participation from Homebrew (returning investors), Reed Hastings, Common Sense Growth, and Ravensburger. The round also witnessed participation from Project A with additional investors Y Combinator, WndrCo, Reach Capital, Visible Ventures, and Khosla Ventures. The firm intends to use this funding to improve its product further and expand user access. Ello has plans to partner with schools in the future and expand its offerings to different languages.
Co-founded in 2019 by Dr. Elizabeth Adams, Tom Sayer and Catalin Voss, Ello offers a subscription-based service that delivers personalized 1:1 tutoring to children, combining AI technology with expert reading specialists. Its proprietary speech recognition technology analyzes a child’s reading and provides personalized feedback. The company is focused on engagement and the child’s love for reading, aiming to make learning a delightful experience rather than a test.
The startup’s proprietary technology enables the app to listen to children as they read aloud and analyze their speech patterns to correct mispronunciations and missed words. Like a natural teacher, Ello’s AI reading coach patiently waits for the child to finish reading each page before employing phonics-based strategies to teach critical reading skills. Children can also access extra help by tapping on the question mark icon.
Speaking about the investment, Co-founder & CEO of Ello, Tom Sayer, said:
Elizabeth, Catalin and I have all come to Ello through our journeys, but we share a belief that reading is the key to education in the information age and are driven by the mission to provide high-quality literacy education to all children, regardless of their resources. We appreciate our investors’ support as we build new versions of our product this fall that will reach more families looking for tools to help their children tackle reading challenges and get more excited about reading. With the latest technological advances, including GenAI, we can finally meet the challenge of 1:1 teaching and democratize education through our AI-based reading coach.
Ello has a user base of 10,000 families, with youngsters reading over 300,000 books on the app. The firm’s goals for the future include collaborating with schools and developing a product specifically intended for classroom settings. It is already conducting pilot programs with approximately 30 schools in San Francisco and New York.
Coddy Johnson, Partner of Goodwater Capital, commented:
Ello is tackling the issue of child literacy head on, leveraging AI to solve the reading challenges kids face, through a fun, engaging 1:1 reading coach. Coming out of the pandemic, as parents and teachers struggle to help children get caught up on basic reading skills, Ello is making a significant difference to thousands of families. We are excited to support them as they further develop their product and take their next step to empower every child’s reading journey.
Ello’s successful funding round will propel the company forward in its mission to enhance child literacy through cutting-edge AI technology. Providing individualized tutoring and cultivating a love for reading will redefine how children learn and develop their reading skills.