SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Kira Learning today announced $6 million in seed capital led by New Enterprise Associates and Dr. Andrew Ng’s AI Fund to build the solution of choice for K-12 schools and districts seeking state-of-the-art, standards-aligned computer science courses for all learners. Kira Learning’s first micro-course – being piloted this summer – guides 9th grade students from an introduction to coding principles to programming a neural network.
“We’re excited to help a new generation of learners access the promise of Computer Science and AI. The Kira Learning team is fortunate to benefit from the experienced perspective of some extraordinary advisors, investors, and partners, and we are grateful to count Dr. Andrew Ng and investors like NEA among them,” said Andrea Pasinetti, Founder and CEO, Kira Learning. “Kira Learning believes computer science education will be a core requirement for all K-12 learners in the next five years. It is crucial for districts, schools, and students to have equitable access to up-to-date, industry-aligned learning opportunities that bring Computer Science and AI into classrooms and communities around the world.”
Dr. Ng – artificial intelligence pioneer, founding lead of Google Brain, Adjunct Professor at Stanford University, Kira Learning Chairman, and one of the world’s most well-regarded computer science educators – is working with the team to design and teach Kira Learning’s introductory K-12 artificial intelligence course.
“Similar to English and Math, Computing will be central to our children’s lives and careers. This shift will be a big challenge for schools and school systems already strained by post-pandemic learning loss and teacher shortages,” said Dr. Andrew Ng. “Computer Science education is a much needed skill for K-12 students around the world, and Kira Learning is building what I believe will be the go-to solution for educators and administrators looking for standards aligned curriculum, content, and learning tools.”
Kira Learning Founder and CEO Andrea Pasinetti is a first-generation American entrepreneur, engineer, and graduate of Stanford’s MBA program. He’s set to graduate Stanford’s MS CS program with a focus on AI and systems, and brings extensive international experience working on equity in education.
Before founding Kira Learning in 2022, Pasinetti spent a decade building equitable, accessible, and quality education pathways for thousands of students in rural China as the founder and CEO of international education nonprofit Teach For China. As of today, Teach For China has placed more than 2,700 teaching fellows in 389 high-need schools across five rural Chinese provinces.
“We always say that we invest in people—which is incredibly true here,” said Carmen Chang, General Partner; Chairman & Head, Asia at NEA. “We have known Andrea for some time, and we believe in his exceptional talent and potential. For Andrea to build an education company with his deep knowledge of K-12 along with his passion and creativity is very exciting to us.”
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Breaking out of the boutique – by the numbers:
- 7 in 10 U.S. parents and guardians of students in grades 7-12 say it is important for their child to learn computer science, according to Gallup.
- Policymakers across the world are actively considering how best to fund K-12 computer science learning, and they have steered hundreds of millions of dollars into STEM education. Yet despite this, delivering outcomes that support teachers and learners has stalled.
- Teachers spend 7-12 hours per week searching for teaching materials that don’t measure up.
- And data from Gallup and EdReports shows parents, teachers and students need more support.
- 75% of careers will be in technical fields by 2030 yet only 51% of high schools in the US offer at least one foundational Computer Science course.
- 70% of all U.S. parents and guardians of students in grades seven through 12 say it is important for their child to learn computer science.
- 78% of Black parents say learning computer science is important for their child, including more than half (52%) who say it is very important.
- Less than 27% of teachers are satisfied with computer science learning opportunities at their schools.
New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) is a global venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With nearly $24 billion in cumulative committed capital since the firm’s founding in 1977, NEA invests in technology and healthcare companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm’s track record of investing includes more than 260 portfolio company IPOs and more than 430 mergers and acquisitions. www.nea.com
About AI Fund
AI Fund is a venture studio that strives to move humanity forward by accelerating the adoption of AI. We work with entrepreneurs to build companies rapidly and increase the odds of success. We are a team of AI pioneers, operators, entrepreneurs, and investors, supported by top-tier partners including NEA, Sequoia, and Greylock. More at www.aifund.ai
About Kira Learning
Kira Learning is building the solution of choice for all STEM disciplines, giving K-12 students equitable access to state-of-the-art, standards-aligned courses and resources at the cutting edge of industry and learning. Kira Learning is elevating computer science education to exist alongside literacy and numeracy as a core skill that traverses kids’ entire education trajectories. No matter where students live or what school they attend, our aim is to create universal access to digital literacy, and a population who harnesses the power of technology for good. Find out more on Kira Learning.