We’re about a year and a half into our journey with Kyron Learning, and we have some big news today. We’re expanding to turn our offering into a platform for any organization to build with, and we just closed a $14.6 million Series A funding round led by GSV Ventures that will help us build this platform. In addition, we are partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand our math offering to 3rd-5th grade students, and, in particular, we will be focusing on making an impact with students from under-resourced communities and underrepresented groups.
Our mission is to bring equitable access to high quality 1:1 teaching to all students. Over the past year and a half, we have focused on building great interactive video content created by great teachers and driven by AI. Our company is built on the idea that great education relies on great educators. We are building a platform that empowers great educators to use AI to create interactive videos that feel like a conversation. In these videos, the educator can ask a question to the student, the student can respond in a natural voice, and the educator gives them the right feedback and follow up questions to help them master the content – akin to a tutoring session.
Making a difference, one 4th grader at a time
We started with 4th grade math because there is such a large need for students to get extra help with math fundamentals. In particular, post-COVID, many students across the United States are farther behind in math, and we are also in the midst of the toughest teacher shortage that we have seen in schools. As a result, students need more individualized attention to get back to grade level and fill the gaps that they have, but teachers in the classroom have as many as 30-40 students who all are at different levels.
Kyron Learning has been able to help with this problem, and teachers are able to use our lessons to provide extra help for students that are struggling. Through our 4th grade supplementary lessons, we give the teacher standards-aligned lessons that they can assign to their students, and we give students the choice of teachers that they can work with for these lessons.
We have 15 amazing and experienced teachers on our platform, and we’ve been piloting the product in more than 35 schools nationwide. Amazing partner schools like Baltimore City Public Schools and KIPP Schools in Chicago have helped shape the product to meet the needs of their students.
The lessons have proven to be engaging and effective with students. As a result, >70% of students have given the product the highest rating, and 93% of teachers say they would recommend it to other teachers. More importantly, we are seeing a 16% increase in the number of students that understand a subject after just a 30 minute lesson on Kyron.
We’re now expanding our pilot program, and we are opening up our 4th grade lessons for free for the 2023-24 school year for schools to partner with us and give us feedback. Effectiveness is the most important measure of our success, so we are partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the motivation, engagement, and persistence for students as they use Kyron Learning. We will then apply those learnings to building additional lessons for 3rd and 5th grades.
Expanding to all educators
Earlier this year, as we were building our 4th grade content, we were approached by a number of organizations wanting to use our platform to create interactive videos for a variety of subject areas. As we dug into each of these use cases, we realized that, even though our platform was applicable to many more subject areas. The mission of equitable access to education applies to every kind of student, whether it’s a 4th grader learning fractions, a high schooler passing algebra, or a student trying to become the first in their family to graduate from college. We want to be there to help all of these students.
In April, we demonstrated this at the ASU-GSV Summit when we did a joint demonstration with Western Governors University. We had one of their master instructors build a Kyron Learning lesson for a data science class, and it showed how it could be used to help their students in areas at key friction points in their courses.
Since then, we’ve built lessons in many different subject areas from biology to computer science to economics to learning about bees to maintaining a cast iron pan. We’re creating a new media type specifically designed for learning, and it’s designed to be interactive and responsive to each student’s specific needs regardless of the subject.
We’re now opening up the platform to any educator and organization to build on top of, and we’ve already started working with curriculum companies, universities, tutoring companies, and professional skilling companies to create great lessons.
Using generative AI responsibly with educator control
From the beginning, we have focused on responsible use of AI that educators can trust. Last month, we were recognized for this with the only 5 star rating in Common Sense Media’s inaugural AI ratings.
We deliberately started by using more accurate classification-based AI to provide accurate answers and teacher control. Our teachers created snippets of videos, and we weaved together these snippets with AI based on how a student responded.
However, generative AI has advanced by leaps and bounds, so we are in the process of adding generative AI to our platform to generate dialog on the fly. This will open up the ways in which educators can engage with students in our videos, and also create high quality dialog.
We are focused on bringing generative AI to the product in a responsible way that has the proper guardrails and educators controls. We want educators to shape the AI, and this will give them the ability to deliver a great experience to students.
Series A funding to fuel this expansion
We are delighted to have raised a $14.6 million Series A funding round with some of the most respected organizations in education. We are delighted to have found amazing investors who are aligned with our mission of equitable access to high quality teaching. This new round of funding is led by GSV Ventures, and, in this round, we are also partnering with Owl Ventures, ECMC Group Education Impact Fund, Common Sense Growth Fund, Charter School Growth Fund, Cambiar Education, LearnerStudio, Imagine Learning, and Array Education.
Through this network of investors, we have some of the most experienced innovators in education technology helping us accomplish our mission.
This mission is tough and ambitious, and there’s so much need to bring great education to more students. But, we have faith in great teachers, and, if we can empower them with the latest technology to scale their impact, we think we can help any student learn any subject with the teacher that’s right for them.