Amazon’s Alexa Fund invests in edtech startups, Zoobean and Unruly Studios

Amazon’s Alexa Fund invests in edtech startups, Zoobean and Unruly Studios

Two edtech corporations, Zoobean and Unruly Studios, are basically the most approved to derive investment from Amazon’s Alexa Fund — Amazon’s corporate challenge fund targeted on fueling innovation in converse technologies, and particularly, integrations with Amazon’s converse assistant Alexa. Zoobean, which it’s good to maybe perchance well recall from its Shark Tank appearance about a years in the past, offers reading draw to faculties and libraries. And Unruly Studios, a 2018 Alexa Accelerator alum, connects STEM finding out for youngsters with physical play.

Zoobean makes a draw platform known as Beanstack, which helps educators and librarians flee reading challenges and learn about participants’ growth from knowledge-driven insights.

Following its initial debut on Shark Tank, the effect it got investment from Price Cuban, the corporate has persisted to make its draw and make bigger its footprint. This present day, Beanstack is licensed to bigger than 1,200 public libraries and faculties worldwide, and is incessantly known because the “Fitbit for reading” thanks to the diagram it tracks and rewards growth.

Alongside with Alexa Fund, Cuban has also re-invested in the platform, joined by EAI Technologies, Jo and Elizabeth Tango, Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey and Neil Jaffe of Booksource. The company didn’t portion the spherical’s size, and Amazon declines to portion the scale of its Alexa Fund investments.

Zoobean is now exploring ways to mix Alexa into Beanstack so readers can inquire of Alexa to track their growth or ship them reminders about reading time.

Unruly Studios, meanwhile, is drawing shut finding out by diagram of play. Led by Bryanne Leeming, the team comprises gaming veterans from Mattel, Nickelodeon, iRobot, Hasbro and elsewhere who relish designed a product known as Unruly Splats — a programmable floor tile that pairs with an app in show to allow youngsters to play recess-model video games. As an illustration, the tiles could maybe perchance well be out of date for things love musical chairs, whack-a-mole, relay races and further.

The company participated in the Alexa Accelerator last three hundred and sixty five days — certainly, they even linked Zoobean founder Felix Lloyd with the Alexa Fund, as it appears to be like. Unruly Studios is now exploring ways to join its “Splats” with Alexa to make the expertise extra partaking, while also instructing youngsters programming fundamentals and converse diagram.

The Alexa Fund investment became allotment of its seed spherical of $1.eight million, which closed in April, also launched on the present time. The spherical became led by eCoast Angels, and saw participation from new and gift shoppers in conjunction with AT&T, Rough Draft Ventures powered by No longer new Catalyst, Techstars, LearnLaunch, NextFab and other Novel England angel funds.

“We relish been so impressed by Unruly Studios in the future of their time with the Alexa Accelerator last summer, and we’re overjoyed to be reinvesting right here as allotment of their seed spherical,” stated Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund, about Amazon’s investment. “Their means to mix STEM training with physical video games is fascinating by itself, and we gape converse as a diagram to make that relish even extra fun and spicy. We can’t wait to gape what they diagram in the long flee.”

These aren’t the Alexa Fund’s first investments in edtech, on the other hand. Ultimate tumble, the fund invested in converse-basically based draw and products and services company Bamboo Discovering out, to illustrate. It also invested in Sphero, which extra now not too long in the past pivoted to training with Sphero Edu.

“One in every of the explanations I’m so optimistic about converse technology is in consequence of it creates this communal expertise the effect loads of of us can portion in the interaction,” stated Price Cuban, in a observation about the Alexa Fund investments. “Each startup founder must be how converse products and services love Alexa match into their business mannequin, and it’s huge to gape corporations love Zoobean and Unruly take that to coronary heart. I’m mad to gape them evolve their products and use converse to make reading and STEM accessible to extra of us.”

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June 15, 2019

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