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 companies, Zoobean and Unruly Studios, are the latest to receive investment from Amazon’s Alexa Fund — Amazon’s corporate venture fund focused on fueling innovation in voice technologies, and specifically, integrations with Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa. Zoobean, which you may recall from its Shark Tank appearance a few years ago, offers reading software to…

2 edtech companies, Zoobean and Unruly Studios, are the current to get financial investment from Amazon’s Alexa Fund– Amazon’s corporate venture fund concentrated on sustaining development in voice technologies, and particularly, integrations with Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa. Zoobean, which you may recall from its Shark Tank appearance a few years ago, uses reading software application to schools and libraries. And Unruly Studios, a 2018 Alexa Accelerator alum, connects STEM learning for kids with physical play.

Zoobean makes a software platform called Beanstack, which assists educators and curators run checking out obstacles and learn more about participants’ progress from data-driven insights.

Following its initial debut on Shark Tank, where it got investment from Mark Cuban, the business has continued to establish its software and broaden its footprint. Today, Beanstack is accredited to more than 1,200 public libraries and schools worldwide, and is typically described as the “Fitbit for reading” since of how it tracks and rewards development.

In Addition To Alexa Fund, Cuban has likewise re-invested in the platform, signed up with by EAI Technologies, Jo and Elizabeth Tango, Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey and Neil Jaffe of Booksource. The company didn’t share the round’s size, and Amazon declines to share the size of its Alexa Fund financial investments.

Zoobean is now exploring ways to integrate Alexa into Beanstack so readers can ask Alexa to track their development or send them suggestions about reading time.

Unruly Studios, on the other hand, is approaching learning through play. Led by Bryanne Leeming, the group consists of gaming veterans from Mattel, Nickelodeon, iRobot, Hasbro and somewhere else who have created a product called Unruly Splats— a programmable floor tile that couple with an app in order to enable kids to play recess-style games. For example, the tiles can be used for things like musical chairs, whack-a-mole, relay races and more.

The business got involved in the Alexa Accelerator in 2015– in fact, they even linked Zoobean founder Felix Lloyd with the Alexa Fund, as it ends up. Unruly Studios is now checking out ways to connect its “Splats” with Alexa to make the experience more interesting, while also teaching kids programming principles and voice style.

The Alexa Fund financial investment became part of its seed round of $1.8 million, which closed in April, likewise revealed today. The round was led by eCoast Angels, and saw participation from brand-new and existing financiers including AT&T, Outline Ventures powered by General Driver, Techstars, LearnLaunch, NextFab and other New England angel funds.

” We were so impressed by Unruly Studios during their time with the Alexa Accelerator last summertime, and we’re delighted to be reinvesting here as part of their seed round,” said Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund, about Amazon’s investment. “Their ability to integrate STEM education with physical video games is motivating by itself, and we see voice as a way to make that experience much more enjoyable and engaging. We can’t wait to see what they develop in the future.”

These aren’t the Alexa Fund’s first financial investments in edtech, nevertheless. Last fall, the fund invested in voice-based software application and services company Bamboo Knowing, for example. It also purchased Sphero, which more recently rotated to education with Sphero Edu

” One of the factors I’m so positive about voice innovation is since it produces this communal experience where numerous people can share in the interaction,” stated Mark Cuban, in a statement about the Alexa Fund financial investments. “Every start-up founder must be taking a look at how voice services like Alexa fit into their organisation design, and it’s terrific to see business like Zoobean and Unruly take that to heart. I’m delighted to see them develop their items and use voice to make reading and STEM available to more people.”

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