LightSail Announces Adaptive Learning Innovations, New Funding Led By Intuit Co-Founder Scott Cook

LIGHTSAIL ANNOUNCES MARKET-LEADING ADVANCES IN ADAPTIVE LEARNING, RAISES $3.5 MILLION LED BY INTUIT CO-FOUNDER SCOTT COOK

Award-winning literacy solution attracts renowned Silicon Valley investor

NEW YORK, May 6, 2015 – LightSail, the adaptive K-12 literacy solution, today announced both further advances in its personalized learning technology as well as $3.5 million in a new tranche of funding led by Scott Cook, the co-founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Intuit.

LightSail is the only truly personalized literacy solution that precisely matches students to reading materials at the ideal level for reading skill gains. Building on the popularity of gamified learning, the company has added numerous motivation and reward features to incentivize students to appropriately challenge themselves and increase reading volumes. In addition, LightSail has added new scaffolds for below-benchmark readers, in order to actively optimize materials for students reading below grade level.

These advances in personalized learning enhance LightSail’s unique market position; the company’s product is the only K-12 literacy solution that:

  • Offers more than 80,000 texts from over 400 publishers, complete with assessment questions embedded within every text.
  • Measures literacy growth in real time, and automatically adapts each student’s library to continuously deliver “just right” books at the reader’s precise reading level.
  • Provides real-time data to students and teachers on a variety of key metrics including reading stamina, comprehension, and reading level growth (measured in Lexile measure).

LightSail’s new features also include personalized word walls to support each student’s vocabulary acquisition and an in-text chat option for reading groups, allowing students to have social media-style dialogues directly in texts.

An overview of LightSail’s features can be viewed at lightsailed.com/tour.

Scott Cook and his wife, Signe Ostby, selected LightSail for investment based on their extensive education market research conducted together with the Bridgespan Group. Mr. Cook is a co-founder of Intuit, and his dedication to entrepreneurism at Intuit was featured in Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup. Ms. Ostby has been involved in education for over two decades, having had leadership roles in several schools from Pre-K to graduate schools.

Mr. Cook and Ms. Ostby were particularly impressed by LightSail’s proven ability to dramatically improve students’ reading ability – even in the most underserved schools – which has led to a market-leading product position after less than 18 months in schools. “LightSail has developed a truly outstanding product that is head and shoulders above others in the literacy space. I’m delighted to invest in a company with such strong product leadership that builds on technology to dramatically increase the number of kids reading at grade-level,” said Mr. Cook.

LightSail CEO Gideon Stein said, “We are thrilled to add Scott and Signe to our group of investors who care deeply about education and, in particular, the impact that technology can make on improving literacy at scale. Our adaptive product enhancements, which allow schools to powerfully differentiate instruction in a turnkey fashion, will accelerate our strong sales performance to date.”

With this investment, LightSail has raised more than $12 million from a select group of dedicated investors. LightSail, whose partners include the New York City Department of Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, Chicago Public Schools and Denver Public Schools, will use the additional investment to fund expansion of its national sales and marketing platform.

About LightSail Education:

LightSail is the adaptive reading platform that helps students, classrooms, and school districts exceed their literacy goals. LightSail students get access to personalized libraries filled with thousands of engaging, just-right texts to choose from. Our award-winning solution embeds in-text assessments that motivate students to increase the volume of their reading along with the difficulty of the texts they choose. LightSail teachers get real-time access to meaningful data about student reading behavior, comprehension, and growth so they can provide the necessary guidance to enhance learning and encourage a love of reading.

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