About the Business
EarlyBird Education is a startup company that has developed a game-based app aimed at detecting early literacy challenges, such as dyslexia, in children as young as four years old.
The business created the 20-minute tablet-based game to assess children’s literacy levels as they play. Additionally, the tablet provides a screening process, dashboard and analytics, customized resources, and evidence-based tools to help translate information to teachers, parents, and pediatricians so that they can implement a customized course of action.
The startup company claims that 65% of fourth-graders today are reading at below grade level. As a result, poor reading skills can lead to self-esteem issues, anxiety, behavioral problems, and more school dropouts.
The game-based app was developed and scientifically validated at Boston Children’s Hospital in partnership with faculty from the Florida Center for Reading Research.
Seed Funding for EarlyBird
In a press release, the business announced it raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Amplify Capital, Flare Capital Partners, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Solve Innovation Future are all investors in this round.
According to the statement, the seed funding follows a $1 million investment that supported a two-year validation study of the app at Boston Children’s Hospital. The Heckscher Foundation for Children, Oak Foundation, Poses Family Foundation, Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, and Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation were all investors in the previous investment.
Casey van der Stricht, principal at Solve Innovation Future, said in a statement, “EarlyBird has a strong leadership team and science foundation, and is addressing a critically important, unmet need...We are thrilled to support EarlyBird and believe they have the potential for tremendous impact in the U.S. and around the globe.”
With the new funding, the startup company plans to support the commercial launch of the EarlyBird Education app in the fall of 2021. In addition, the business will use the capital to continue the reading product’s enhancement.
The startup company is looking to address the literacy problem in the United States (US). Forbes reported that 54% of US adults, ages 16 to 74, lack proficiency in literacy. This amounts to roughly 130 million Americans who are reading below a sixth-grade level.
Furthermore, according to a Gallup study published on behalf of The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, an additional $2.2 trillion — 10% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) — would be generated by the US government if all US adults were at a level 3 literacy proficiency. Level 3 literacy proficiency refers to skills required for successful completion of secondary school and college entry.
The same study found that adults who are at a Level 3 literacy proficiency make an average of $63,000 per year, whereas adults who are at lower levels of proficiency make $48,000 or less in average annual income.
If the app created by the business proves to be successful in its early-detection methods for young children, the startup company could become a critical resource for parents, teachers, and pediatricians to take action and increase literacy levels across the board.
About the Author
McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.