Kyron Learning secures $14.6M to expand its conversational AI technology – TechCrunch

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Kyron Learning, an AI-based learning startup, announced today its $14.6 million Series A funding round plus an $850,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The new capital will further develop the platform’s generative AI capabilities and build out its K-12 math curriculum. Today, the company is opening the platform up to all organizations and learning solution providers, providing them with the right tools to release content using Kyron’s conversational AI technology.

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Kyron Learning was founded in 2022 by former VP of Google Cloud AI Rajen Sheth and Qwiklabs founder Enis Konuk with the belief that AI can positively impact learning. The interactive video platform allows students to interact with lessons by responding to questions via text or voice. Kyron’s conversational AI comprehends student answers and selects the relevant, pre-recorded responses provided by teachers. Kyron is also working on integrating generative AI to trigger AI-powered responses if a student needs further assistance.

The platform uses underlying AI models with Kyron’s proprietary technology built on top of them, Sheth explained to TechCrunch. It primarily uses AI techniques like NLU-based (Natural Language Understanding) dialog modeling and generative AI. The accuracy of its natural language processing is around 95%, Sheth noted.

“The accuracy can vary based on if the student is typing in answers via text or responding via voice, and also based on the environment they are in if they use voice… If a pre-recorded response doesn’t match a student’s answer, we have a more general fallback response that can go deeper with the student,” he added.

The company currently provides the technology for free to 35 pilot schools for the 2023-2024 school year. However, to start, Kyron Learning only offers fourth-grade math lessons. With the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, Kyron Learning will soon launch math content for third and fifth graders. Kyron Learning also provides lessons for Spanish-speaking students.

“We chose math because of the dire need across the country for math achievement and understanding,” Sheth said. In 2022, fourth and eighth-grade math scores fell to the lowest levels in nearly 20 years, per the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Now that Kyron’s platform is open to all organizations, more students will have access to interactive video lessons. The company already works with several universities, tutoring companies, curriculum providers and employee training programs.

“Our goal is to create a community of creators and organizations that are building on top of this platform and extending it to all ages and all subjects,” Sheth said, adding that Kyron is rolling out a self-service creator tool in the early part of next year.

Global Silicon Valley Ventures led the Series A funding, with participation from Owl Ventures, ECMC Group Education Impact Fund, Common Sense Growth Fund, Charter School Growth Fund, Cambiar Education, LearnerStudio, Imagine Learning and Array Education.

“Education achievement has dipped dramatically post-COVID, and we have one of the biggest teacher shortages that we have ever seen in the United States. There’s an urgent need to help students where they are and give them access to a great education that’s responsive to their needs. Also, we are at the beginning of incredible growth in AI technology, but using AI safely and [having] a positive impact on society will be crucial to its overall success as a technology. We are a company that is focused on both of these problems, and we bring together a set of veteran technologists and educators to solve this in the right way. If we are successful, we will have a great impact on society and the direction of AI,” Sheth said.

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