Introducing the 2017 AT&T Aspire Accelerator Class

By Anne Wintroub, Director of Social Innovation, AT&T
May 4, 2017 8:45 AM ET

“How can I help students in new and lasting ways?” That’s a question all innovators in education ask… daily.

“How can the program, platform or product I’m working on make a difference in learners’ lives? Does it connect teachers to new, untapped resources? Does it help engage caregivers in a child’s learning? Does it allow students to see things in a different light? Does it help?”

Through the AT&T Aspire Accelerator program, we work to support and scale promising for- and non-profit organizations using technology to drive student success and get young people ready for what comes next. The program is part of AT&T Aspire, our $400 million commitment since 2008 to support education and connect the learning revolution to the young people that need it most.

We started the Aspire Accelerator program in 2015. The 11 incredible companies from our first 2 classes are making deep and lasting impact, having reached more than 4 million students and reaching growth rates that far exceed industry standards. 

Our new 2017 Aspire Accelerator class brings together groundbreaking startups that are tackling the most pressing challenges in education – each with a unique and engaging approach tailored to the specific needs of learners and teachers. From using basketball stats to practice math to teaching STEM through game-building, they’re connecting with every learner. And from creating technology tools for special education teachers to enriching teachers’ instruction through audio analysis and feedback, they’re engaging with every teacher.

The companies’ talented and dedicated founders come from all across the country, representing diverse backgrounds and leadership. Meet our game changers! This year’s class includes:

  • Booknook (Oakland, CA) – a cloud-based platform that reinvents small group learning through personalized curriculum and texts.
  • (501(c)3 / 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.
  • 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 (501(c)3 / 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • LitLab (501(c)3 / Oakland, CA) – creators of Lumen, an app that gathers mobile usage data and converts it into actionable intelligence for parents, providing focused reading support.
  • Zulama (Pittsburgh, PA) – a cloud-based platform that engages teenagers in programming and STEM subjects through game design.

These transformative ventures receive financial investment, mentorship and access to expert services from AT&T and others during their time in the Aspire Accelerator. The customized 6-month program kicks off this weekend in conjunction with the ASU GSV Education Technology Summit in Salt Lake City.

One of the great things about the AT&T Aspire Accelerator is that the question innovators agonize – how can I help students? – becomes a shared commitment. How can WE help? How can AT&T help the amazing companies that form our cohort and how can we, as a community, help students and teachers in new and lasting ways? We are so excited to get to work!