Bamboo launches English learning voice app for Alexa, partners with TAF to help kids in need

Seattle startup Bamboo Learning today launched its first voice-based education app for English Language Arts and announced partnerships to help get its technology to kids in need.

“Bamboo English” offers more than 60,000 voice-enabled exercises for K-5 students. The app is launched on Amazon’s Alexa devices by saying, “Alexa, open Bamboo English.” It costs $5.99 per month per family and is Bamboo’s first subscription product.

Bamboo also rolled out the Everyone Learns program, working with Oakland, Calif.-based Philanthropic Ventures Foundation and Seattle’s Technology Access Foundation to get voice-enabled devices and Bamboo’s app to more students.

“With the pandemic requiring families across the country to provide schooling at home, this program allows children to benefit from Bamboo Learning’s fun, voice-based learning tools, and offers parents a much-needed break to focus on other tasks while their children are learning,” TAF Executive Director Trish Dziko said in a statement.

Bamboo is led by CEO Ian Freed, a former technology adviser for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Bamboo’s other apps include Bamboo Math, Bamboo Music, Bamboo Luminaries, and others. The 5-person company expanded to Google devices earlier this year. Bamboo raised $1.4 million in December from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Wavemaker Partners, Unlock Venture Partners, VoicePunch, and technology industry veterans from Amazon, Apple, Disney, and Microsoft. Amazon also invested in the company previously in September 2018.

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