Building a 1:1 teacher was one of the original dreams of AI.

It’s finally possible.

To maximize human potential, we must scale 1:1 teaching.

We now have the tools to do this.

We’re building the components of an AI teacher in three parts.

The key to unlocking AI teaching for young kids is Child Speech Perception

Children learn by talking, so the best interface for young kids to interact with technology is natural language. But existing speech recognition does not work for children.

We’re leveraging advances in self-supervised machine learning to build 10x better child speech perception.
See research


A great teacher knows the child in front of them and continuously maps their cognitive state.

An AI teacher builds a granular picture of a child’s understanding and situates them along  a learning pathway. Think of it as continuous phenotyping for every stage of early learning.


The best teachers find a way to engage learners at just the right level for them to stretch and grow.

Large generative models unlock the ability to create personalized stories and teaching materials that evolve and interact to meet children at that just-right apex for learning. We're building Language Models that are safe and produce outputs aligned with pedagogical best practices and produce content driven by the interests of each unique child.

Building a Learning Companion

We’re building delightful UI that sparks a love for learning and centers the child, not the technology

Our team brings together world-class AI and learning science expertise


Evidence-based approaches to learning & engagement that motivates.

Artificial Intelligence

A radically different way for young children to interact with technology.

Learning Philosophy

Learning is done by a child, not to a child. A teacher puts the child at the center of the learning.

Read with Ello is the first AI reading coach that works with real books to support readers with evidence-based instruction & motivation, but that’s just the beginning. Language is the most natural way for a young child to learn, and the heart of engagement between student and teacher. Ello’s technology will unlock this critical interactive learning model for all students. Access to 1:1 support that is specifically tailored to the child’s interests and developmental needs will accelerate learning and maximize the potential for every child, across all subject domains.
Research by Education Reimagined

Organization of learners

Current paradigm
Organized in age cohorts
Learner-centered paradigm
Learners learn individually and in diverse and shifting groups consistent with their developmental, social, and competency needs.


Current paradigm
Standardized linear curricula divided into subjects
Learner-centered paradigm
Relevant, contextualized curricula organized by competency
Current paradigm
Learner-centered paradigm

Organization of learners

Organized in age cohorts
Learners learn individually and in diverse and shifting groups consistent with their developmental, social, and competency needs.


Standardized linear curricula divided into subjects
Relevant, contextualized curricula organized by competency

Learner goals / Progress indicators

Required credit hours and seat time
Development of competency in agreed domains of knowledge, skills, and dispositions in timeframes appropriate to each learner

Reading is the gateway to learning

To access the rest of education, and the world’s knowledge, a child must be able to read.

Yet, 69% of 4th graders are behind in the USA and literacy is a huge problem globally.

Launching our First Product

Read with Ello

Ello is the first AI reading coach that works with real books to help struggling readers with evidence-based instruction & motivation.
visit product page

Who We Are

We’re a tight-knit team with deep experience in K-12 education, childhood development, and artificial intelligence, who came together to support parents in creating the best learning environment for their child.
Tom Sayer
Co-Founder, CEO
Education Entrepreneur
Dr. Elizabeth Adams
Co-Founder, CXO
Clinical Child Psychologist
Catalin Voss
Co-Founder, CTO
Stanford AI PhD
Dr. Terry Winograd
Godfather of Human-Computer Interaction
Lauren Sittel
Senior Curriculum Specialist
Former 1:1 Reading Tutor
Dr. Michael Auli
FAIR Speech Team Director
Samantha Brooks
Developmental Reading Specialist
30+ years in education
Henry Zhou
Lead Scientist, Speech
wav2vec Creator
Dr. Nick Haber
Stanford Professor of AI & Education
Andrew Li
Head of Product
Ex-Apple Product Lead
Marllon Villano
Lead Engineer, Unity
Built literacy games in Unity
Tiffany Petrillo
Curriculum Advisor
10+ years in K-12
Anish Nag
Software Engineer
Berkeley ML grad
Joe Lou
Senior Machine Learning Engineer
Ex-Meta, Stanford ML grad
Jackie Neumann
People & Partnerships
Former K-12 Teacher
Zac Elder
Chief of Staff
Former K-12 Ed. Consultant
Derek Chong
Applied Scientist
NLP Specialist
James Mwangi
Lead Engineer, Backend & Ops
Victoria Akeyo
Software Engineer
Alena Adushkina
Software Engineer, Unity
Eliachim Ongaro
Engineering Operations Manager
Sergii Hohlov
Lead Graphic Designer
Andrew Chun
Customer Support Specialist
Doli Caliwanagan
Administrative Assistant
Brian Muthomi
Senior Software Engineer, Backend
Phillipe Augusto
Software Engineer, Unity
Derlene Sosa
Operations Associate
Anthony DiPisa
Operations Associate
Sarah Tenney
Customer Success Representative
Anna Rizza Laganse
Executive Assistant
Jeremi Short
Customer Support Specialist
Erin Slack
Senior Technical Recruiter
Apeksha Kothari
Head of Operations
Dina Koldeibekova
Senior Product Manager
Megan Girdler
Curriculum Specialist
Stephanie Darling
Curriculum Specialist
Molly Richards
Curriculum Specialist
Andrew Wooler
Technical Program Manager
Aashil Desai
Business Operations Manager
Violet Trachtenberg
Executive Assistant


The tools for building a real AI teacher have arrived

Our team has played a central role in researching & developing the building blocks of AI teaching.

wav2vec 2.0: A framework for self-supervised learning of speech representations.
A. Baevski, H. Zhou, A. Mohamed, and M. Auli.

Advances in neural information processing systems. 2020;33:12449-60.

Systems and Methods for Speech Validation. U.S. Patent Application
C. Voss, T. R. Sayer, and A. Nag.

U.S. Patent Application No. 17/644,767

Data-Driven Diagnostics and the Potential of Mobile Artificial Intelligence for Digital Therapeutic Phenotyping in Computational Psychiatry
P. Washington, N. Park, P. Srivastava, C. Voss, A. Kline, M. Varma, Q. Tariq, H.
Kalantarian, J. Schwartz, R. Patnaik, B. Chrisman, N. Stockham, K. Paskov, N. Haber, D. P. Wall

Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. 2020 Aug;5(8);759-69

Improved Digital Therapy for Developmental Pediatrics Using Domain-Specific Artificial Intelligence: Machine Learning Study
P. Washington, H. Kalantarian, J. Kent, A. Husic, A. Kline, E. Leblanc, C.Hou, O. Cezmi Mutlu, K. Dunlap, Y. Penev, M.Varma, N. Tyler Stockham, B. Chrisman, K. Paskov, M. W. Sun, J. Jung, C. Voss, N. Haber, D. P. Wall

JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting. 2022 Apr 8;5(2):e26760.

Active world model learning with progress curiosity.
Kim, Kuno, M. Sano, J. De Freitas, N. Haber, and D. Yamins.

Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning, 2020;119:5306-15.

Learning to play with intrinsically-motivated self-aware agents.
N. Haber, D. Mrowca, L. Fei-Fei, D. Yamins.

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018).

Our Investors

Working at Ello


Everyone at Ello is dedicated to solving one of the most important issues facing the world today: ensuring all children learn to read, and in doing so helping maximize their potential. We are honored to do the work to achieve this mission, and each of us takes ownership of our part in achieving it. Our mission is our strongest recruiting tool.

Impact & Delight

Ensuring all children can read is critical to our world, and we pursue this mission with urgency. But learning can be and should be fun. We feel fortunate that our work can have the combined impact and delight that gives young readers the intrinsic motivation and skills to become lifelong learners.

A Culture of Care

Once you’re part of Ello, you’re part of a small, caring team that actively empowers one another, communicates with honesty grounded in empathy, and values our relationships. Our mission necessitates that our team represents various backgrounds. We want team members to bring their whole selves to Ello, and to feel valued in doing so.

Join us in maximizing every child’s potential!