Bay Area Ed-Tech Startups Selected for AT&T Aspire Accelerator

2017 Class of For- and Non-Profit Organizations Kicks-off 6 Month Program

SAN FRANCISCO, May 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T welcomes 8 innovative ed-tech startups, including 4 organizations from the San Francisco Bay Area, to the AT&T Aspire Accelerator 2017 class. The program is in its third year and is part of AT&T's $400 million commitment since 2008 to help students succeed. The Accelerator supports for- and non-profit organizations driving student success and career readiness.

The Bay Area organizations selected for this year's program include:

  • Booknook (Oakland, CA) A cloud-based platform that reinvents small group learning through personalized curriculum and texts.
  • (Palo Alto, CA) A website where students can crowdsource career advice by asking questions that are answered by an online volunteer corps of working professionals.
  • LiftEd (Berkeley, CA) An app that enables special education teachers to measure individualized student performance, analyze learning trends in real-time and share progress on demand with districts and parents.
  • LitLab (Oakland, CA) An app that gathers mobile usage data and converts it into actionable intelligence for parents, providing focused reading support.
Members of the AT&T Aspire Accelerator will receive a $100,000 investment1 from AT&T and another $25,000 to cover the costs of attending and participating in the program.

They'll also have access to resources and mentors from AT&T and across the education and technology industry. The organizations will become part of the broader AT&T Aspire initiative, which is committed to driving innovation in education.

"When you combine education with technology you can really make a difference," said Ken McNeely, President, AT&T California. "AT&T welcomes this year's Aspire Accelerator class and is proud to support these game-changing solutions for students and teachers in the Bay Area and across the state and nation."

Aspire Accelerator members will also get to work with powerful industry minds. The AT&T Aspire Accelerator's board of advisors includes leading education and technology innovators such as Charles Best, founder and CEO of, and Sebastian Thrun, founder and president of Udacity.

"I've loved the opportunity to work with the Aspire Accelerator startups and serve as a mentor for the founders as they continue to grow their organizations and bring new initiatives and products into the ed-tech space," said Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE. "I know this year's class will bring more innovative ideas to the table and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with AT&T to help the ventures succeed."

Aspire Accelerator members remain in their home cities during the length of the program. They will meet with AT&T and their class members several times at key industry events, such as ISTE. The program will kick off this weekend in conjunction with the ASU GSV Education Technology Summit in Salt Lake City.

In addition to the 4 Bay Area organizations selected for the program, other members of the 2017 Aspire Accelerator class come from across the country, represent diverse backgrounds and leadership, and include:

  • Earshot (Seattle, WA) an app that uses voice analysis and machine learning to provide teachers with personalized data about their instruction to help them improve it.
  • Learn Fresh (Denver, CO) creators of NBA Math Hoops, a board game, mobile app and community program that builds fundamental math skills through engagement with NBA and WNBA player statistics.
  • ListenWise (Brookline, MA) a platform that curates engaging audio stories from public radio and wraps teaching supports around them, allowing teachers to assess students' listening skills.
  • Zulama (Pittsburgh, PA) a cloud-based platform that engages teenagers in programming and STEM subjects through game design.

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T (NYSE: T) is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. The company's signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, drives innovation in education to promote student success in school and beyond. With a financial commitment of $400 million since 2008, AT&T is leveraging technology, relationships and social innovation to help all students make their biggest dreams a reality.

1 The $100,000 investment for non-profit organizations will be in the form of a general contribution in exchange for meeting certain stated requirements, while the $100,000 investment in for-profit companies will be in return for up to a 5% equity stake.