Sharpen, a Concord, Massachusetts-based company that offers a science-backed, early-risk assessment and high-outcome digital reading programme explicitly designed to empower parents, has raised $11 million in its Series A funding round led by Learn Capital. With this fundraising, the startup plans to expand operations and its business reach.
Sharpen, led by President Jack Kelleher, provides pre-K and elementary-aged children with early intervention assessments and a digital reading programme that includes scripted lessons and ongoing progress monitoring. Based on the science of reading developed by a team of researchers and literacy experts, the company gives parents the tools to assess their child’s risk of developing reading challenges as early as two years old. Once a child enters kindergarten, parents can use the Reading Programme to quickly improve their child’s reading skills by an entire grade level in as little as three months by spending 15-30 minutes daily on it.
Parents can access a digital platform of resources, including the Early Advantage Reading Assessment for children as early as two years old and the Reading Programme for reading levels in kindergarten through second grade, with content for later grades coming soon. Sharpen examines the entire child in three dimensions: family history and current environment, vital developmental moments, and the child’s actual skill. When these three dimensions are considered together, it provides a complete picture of the child’s risk.
To harness the highest quality research-driven learning solutions, the firm partners with world-class research universities such as Yale University, the University of Texas at Houston Health Centre, and Brock University.
According to research, identifying reading difficulties early on is essential. Early detection and intervention result in the best long-term outcomes for children. That is why the company developed a comprehensive early assessment and digitized a proven, high-outcome reading programme wholly aligned with the Science of Reading. Sharpen Reading is designed to empower parents and tutors with the tools they need to teach mastery and efficiently move children to grade-level reading and beyond.
Sharpen’s journey began in 2019 when a group of passionate parents, educators, and researchers came together to provide new ways for families to identify reading challenges earlier than ever before and provide more equitable and affordable access to learning solutions. The belief that all children deserve the opportunity to learn to read is at the heart of its mission, and the prevalent wait-to-fail model in the United States can be turned on its head.