Updated Oct 04, 2018

BeeLine Reader

Color is the new black

www.beelinereader.com
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Snapshot

Stage 4: Transition to Scale

In our 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.

Focus Areas:

Education, Technology and Disability

Education, Technology and DisabilitySEE LESS

Problem

Illiteracy 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.

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Solution

We 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.

Competitive Advantage

In the 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 comprehension.

Planned Goals and Milestones

Our 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.

Milestones

Sep 2018
May 2016
Date Unknown
Recognition
Stanford Social Entrepreneurship Startup Competition