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Kira Learning Raises $15M Series A to Fuel National Expansion of its Platform to Empower K-12 Teachers and Students to Teach and Learn Computer Science

Kira Learning, the company building an AI-powered platform that allows anyone to teach and learn computer science (CS), announced today that it has closed a $15M Series A round from existing investors NEA and the AI Fund. The company also announced a partnership with the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN), managed by Battelle Education, following a competitive RFP process, to provide all public high schools and middle schools in the state with an introductory CS curriculum and an unparalleled, integrated teaching-learning platform. TSIN, the Tennessee Department of Education, and Battelle will leverage the curriculum and platform to implement the state’s new computer science requirement in high schools.

With more states mandating CS courses, the U.S. will face a massive demand for technical teaching expertise. However, the barrier to teaching computer science is high. Co-Founder and CEO Andrea Pasinetti anticipated these needs when he launched Kira Learning in 2021. In partnership with Dr. Andrew Ng, a pioneer in the machine learning space, adjunct professor of CS at Stanford University and co-founder of Coursera, the two assembled a team of notable educators, scientists, and engineers, including former NASA Jet Propulsion Lab AI Data Scientist and Co-Founder Jagriti Agrawal, to develop the product and curriculum. The resulting solution empowers teachers and learners through cutting edge curricular solutions, a collaborative browser-based coding environment, and AI powered tools for auto-grading and student assistance. Kira Learning’s solution emphasizes engaging students in a helpful way, ensuring that they are comfortable, continuously motivated and engaged. The curriculum covers multiple programming languages and technologies and includes several course pathways covering AI, Cybersecurity, Web Development, and more.

“We’re seeing the most significant shift in K-12 education in half a century, as computer science becomes an important third pillar in K-12 education along with language and math, and we’re thrilled to join with the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) as our first partner out of the gate in ensuring all students benefit from early exposure to computer science,” said Kira Learning Co-Founder and CEO Andrea Pasinetti. “We fundamentally believe this subject needs to be an equal pillar in K-12 education, alongside literacy and math skills. With the rigor that went into designing our curriculum and platform, we can take anyone from never having written a single line of code to being able to train a neural network, in just three weeks. We are excited to bring it nationwide.”

States across the U.S. are rolling out computer science requirements in phases. Tennessee has taken a proactive approach and is among the first states making CS education a high school requirement. The TSIN will make Kira Learning’s computer science courses available to all public middle and high schools in the state, at no cost to schools. Starting this Fall, every public school student preparing to graduate high school in Tennessee will be able to satisfy their computer science requirement through Kira Learning’s Introduction to Computer Science course.

TSIN Network Director Brandi Stroecker said, “We performed an extensive search to identify a partner that offers tools sophisticated enough to empower teachers of all experience levels while also providing state-of-the-art course content that is compelling for learners of any age.” Stroecker added, “By providing Kira Learning’s coursework at no cost to all middle and high school institutions through our partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, we’re helping Tennessee educators and students build a strong foundation to thrive in today’s digital world.”

The trend is growing nationwide. Today four more states in the U.S. – Georgia, Nebraska, Nevada and South Carolina – also require students to complete a computer science course to graduate high school, and 23 more states are requiring that high schools offer at least one CS course as an elective.

“Advances in AI present an attractive opportunity to democratize teaching and learning computer science,” said Carmen Chang, Partner at NEA. “What Duolingo did for languages, we believe Kira Learning will do for computer science and AI. Specifically, we believe Kira Learning will become the destination for anyone looking to learn CS. Andrea’s experience in education and technology makes him uniquely suited to spearhead this timely effort.”

“AI coding is the new literacy,” said AI Fund General Partner and Kira Learning Chairman Andrew Ng. “When the educational system decided to aspire to full literacy, it enriched society. Given the importance of computing and AI throughout society, it’s now clear that everyone should learn these subjects. Kira Learning’s journey to bring this to all K-12 students will enrich and empower the next generation.”

Kira Learning is in active discussions with several additional states and anticipates having programs in about 20 states by this Fall. To learn more about the company and its mission to teach anyone computer science, visit Kira Learning’s website.

About Kira Learning

Kira Learning is building an AI-powered platform that allows anyone to teach and learn computer science. Founded in 2021, the company offers a curriculum designed by notable educators, scientists and engineers, along with AI-assisted lesson planning, grading, and student assistance. Backed by investment from NEA and the AI Fund, Kira Learning is on a mission to establish computer science and AI as foundational pillars of education alongside literacy and numeracy. Find out more on Kira Learning.

About New Enterprise Associates

New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) is a global venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. Founded in 1977, NEA has over $25 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2022 and invests in technology and healthcare companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm’s long track record of investing includes more than 270 portfolio company IPOs and more than 450 mergers and acquisitions. For more information, please visit 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.

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