Stage 4: Transition to Scale
first phase, we verified demand for our technology via our consumer
tools.We are now scaling our impact
by growing our consumer user base, and by licensing our technology to content
platforms. Our first few platforms are some of the largest literacy and
accessibility platforms in the world: Reading Is Fundamental and
Bookshare. Our reach through
licensing is now as great as our B2C reach, and is growing at an even faster
rate because we are focused on scaling through this avenue now.
Education, Technology and Disability
Education, Technology and DisabilitySEE LESS
Funds Raised to Date
is a problem in both the developed and the developing world. Without adequate
reading skills, students cannot reach their potential in school, and adults
are unable to pursue many careers that require reading skills. Worldwide
estimates suggest that roughly 750 million adults are illiterate. We address not only the general literacy
problem, but also the accessibility problem that prevents many people from
learning how to read—even after struggling to read for years or even decades.
have developed a new way of displaying text that makes reading easier for
people of all ages and abilities. There are three types of benefits: 1: Accelerates literacy acquisition by
first-time readers. This benefit is especially important for kids from
under-resourced populations, who have not had as many opportunities to
develop their reading skills prior to starting school. We enable them to
catch up to their peers, leveling the playing field. 2: Significantly improves reading ability
and ease for people with disabilities such as dyslexia, ADHD, autism, and
vision impairments. Many people who have struggled with traditional reading
find that our technology allows them to read with unprecedented ease and joy.
Some people are literally brought to tears because they are finally able to
read effortlessly. 3: Improved
reading ability for skilled readers. Our technology helps skilled readers, in
addition to those who are still developing their reading skills. We help
people who have to read for a living do their job more easily and with less
eyestrain. All of these benefits are
supported by independent, third-party research. We are also in the process of
further research related to dyslexia, in conjunction with researchers at
Stanford University and at WestEd, an education research nonprofit. All of
these studies are non-compensated, to ensure the validity of the
results. Our long-term vision is to
make reading a more inclusive and efficient activity.
Our beneficiaries include people with disabilities such as dyslexia, vision challenges, executive functioning disorders, and traumatic brain injuries. Our tools, which have significant free functionality, are used by students of all ages (grades 1 to PhD) and by adults who need to read for their occupation.
Mission and Vision
We want to make reading more accessible and more efficient for all.
accessibility world, there are other technologies that can help people with
reading challenges. The most popular of our predecessors is text-to-speech.
This technique has a few notable downsides. First, it requires the individual
to use headphones or speakers in order to read. This is particularly
difficult/embarrassing for students in a classroom environment. Students do
not want to be stigmatized by a disability, and being the one kid sitting in
the back of the room with headphones does just this. Furthermore, it requires
that the student keep track of additional hardware, which can be lost or
damaged. Secondly, TTS does not help
the individual learn to read visually. This means that the individual must
continue to rely on TTS instead of gaining visual reading skills that can
help propel them forward. This is especially detrimental because visual
reading takes place at much faster rates of speed than TTS narration. Lastly, TTS solutions are all linear—they
march the reader through the text word by word. This contrasts with how
visual reading naturally works, which is iterative and non-linear. When we
read a complex sentence, we often look back to earlier clauses in order to
fully understand its meaning. With TTS, the individual is prevented from
looking back, which impairs comprehension.
In the general education space, there are other tools that highlight
words in succession. Like TTS, this suffers from forced linearity, impairing
Planned Goals and Milestones
goals are twofold and include: (1) increased adoption of consumer plugins,
and (2) additional licensing partnerships.
We are building automated systems into our consumer tools that will
allow us to onboard a million users with no hard costs and minimal support
costs. Our goal is to hit 1 million users within 18 months. On the partnership side, our ultimate
goal is to have BeeLine offered on all major educational platforms. In the
next year, we aim to launch 6 major platform integrations with instructional
or assessment platforms. During
this timeframe, we will hire 3 additional employees to manage consumer (1)
and licensing (2) relationships. We
expect that fulfilling these goals will enable us to reach 20 million people,
primarily through our licensing partnerships.
The Team Behind the Innovation
Our team is headed by Nick Lum, an innovator with a background in linguistics. Nick's work has been featured in the New York Times, The BBC, and NPR.
Our advisors include Glen Thomas (former CA Secretary of Education) and Professor K. David Harrison (Linguistics Professor and Associate Provost at Swarthmore College).
Our other teammates are based in Europe and Africa and bring their international perspective to our apps and partnerships.