Intuit co-founder leads $11 mln Series B for LightSail


LightSail, a literacy  solution for K-12 education, raised $11 million in a Series B round of funding led by Scott Cook, the co-founder and chairman of the executive committee of Intuit, with participation form the Bezos Family Foundation as well as new and existing investors.

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK, March 2, 2016 – LightSail, the adaptive literacy solution for K-12 education, raised $11 million in a Series B round of funding led by Scott Cook, the co-founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Intuit, with significant participation from the Bezos Family Foundation as well as new and existing investors.

LightSail promotes the gain of reading skills by seamlessly embedding assessments into the books kids love to read and by using predictive algorithms to precisely match students to a customized library of ideal texts. The LightSail reading experience incorporates persuasive learning technologies designed to challenge students to read more texts in their “just right” zone, for longer durations and with greater comprehension. LightSail’s partner schools are already experiencing 2-5x growth over expected literacy gains among students reading as little as 25 minutes a day.

LightSail is the only K-12 literacy solution that:

  • offers nearly 5,000 texts from more than 60 publishers, complete with assessment questions embedded within every text;
  • measures literacy growth in real time and automatically adapts each student’s library to the reader’s precise reading level; and
  • provides real-time insights to students and educators on a variety of key metrics, including reading stamina, comprehension and reading level growth (measured in Lexiles).

LightSail is currently partnered with more than 500 schools and districts across the country including the New York City Department of Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, Boston Public Schools, Denver Public Schools, Evergreen Public Schools and many others.

Scott Cook and his wife, Signe Ostby, chose to invest in LightSail through their foundation, the Valhalla Charitable Trust, because of LightSail’s demonstrated ability to improve students’ reading skills even in the most underserved schools. Mr. Cook’s dedication to customer-centric entrepreneurship at Intuit was featured in Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup.  Ms. Ostby has been involved in education for more than two decades, having had leadership roles in several schools from Pre-K to graduate institutions. “Signe and I are dedicated to finding scalable solutions to address the global literacy crisis. LightSail continues to impress us with its commitment to a customer-centric, data-driven focus on literacy growth in the challenging K-12 market,” said Mr. Cook.

The Bezos Family Foundation works to elevate the field of education and improve life outcomes for all children. Jackie Bezos, the President of the Bezos Family Foundation, said, “LightSail impressed us with their thoughtful approach – which is built on research about how students learn – and deep commitment to student literacy outcomes. From our ongoing discussions, it was clear that this was a company that shared our passion for excellence, results and meaningful innovations within the K-12 learning environment.”

LightSail CEO Gideon Stein said, “We are grateful for the continued leadership from Scott, Signe and our initial round of investors and thrilled to have the support of The Bezos Family Foundation. Having a group of investors who are deeply committed to education will make all of the difference as we grow. This round of investment will help us attract the best talent in ed tech, make the product available to all schools – regardless of hardware – and add velocity to our sales and marketing efforts.”


About LightSail

LightSail, one of the fastest growing literacy solutions in the K-12 space, offers students a truly personalized reading experience while providing educators with the daily data needed to inform instruction and drive deeper learning. LightSail’s literacy software embeds instructional tools and assessments directly into the very best texts. Students reading on LightSail as little as 25 minutes a day are experiencing Lexile gains 2-5x greater than expected results. With this investment, LightSail has raised more than $23 million from a select group of investors dedicated to K-12 literacy.

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