USM Maryland Momentum Fund Invests $500,000 in Voxy EnGen
Voxy EnGen is a Workforce-Ready, English-Skills Platform Led by University of Maryland, College Park Graduates.
BALTIMORE, MD. (Jan. 7, 2021)â€¯– The University System of Maryland (USM) Momentum Fund has invested $500,000 in Voxy EnGen, an educational technology public benefit company that provides new Americans with career-specific language training that accelerates English language skill acquisition. The Maryland Momentum Fund investment is part of a $6.7 million Series A funding round, led by ReThink Education, and a number of impact-focused investors, including Juvo Ventures, the American Family Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, and The Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund.
“Improving immigrant English language skills is critical for a new job force, and this platform has excellent academic efficacy evidence, with over ten years of use. Several parts of the University System of Maryland have already bought the platform,” said Claire Broido Johnson, managing director of the Momentum Fund. “If Voxy EnGen continues to grow at its current rate, this will be a great investment for MMF. That, and the team is fantastic.”
Founded and run by graduates of the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), Voxy EnGen’s mobile-first, adaptive platform is designed to equip English learners with the skills they need for both academic and workforce-related tasks. Lessons are centered on thousands of practical topics and themes, ranging from job interviews and customer service to academic honesty and test preparation. All of the lessons come from real-world content, so learners get English skills they can use in their daily lives right away, whether that is understanding COVID-19 cleaning protocols for residential facilities workers or requirements for distance learning for international graduate students. Within 3-6 months, clients, including the University of Maryland, have seen a noticeable improvement in learners’ language skills.
“We are thrilled to partner with Voxy EnGen to offer English support to non-native speakers across our campus community,” said Mariah Bauer, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Planning in the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost at UMCP and Deputy Director of the University’s Administrative Modernization Program, which sponsors the Voxy EnGen project. “From international graduate students to residential facilities workers, the tool is easy-to-use, works for learners with a wide variety of needs, and we can see the results through improved proficiency and participation.”
Founded in 2019 as a spinout of Voxy, Inc., Voxy EnGen has a strong partnership with Guild Education, Inc., an education-as-a-benefit company currently serving frontline workers at Walmart, Lowe’s, Chipotle, and more. Voxy EnGen addresses the needs of thousands of English learners in 36 states, working with employers, libraries, colleges, and community groups to offer career-specific English training across a wide range of in-demand career sectors.
“As a country, the U.S. meets the needs of only four percent of our adult English learners, which is a huge problem,” said Katie Nielson, founder and Chief Education Officer of Voxy EnGen. “I designed this technology and founded Voxy EnGen to address that problem at scale. We now have the tools to quickly help immigrants and refugees get the language skills they need to advocate for themselves, help their children, and improve their economic outcomes.”
The USM Maryland Momentum Fund provides investment for promising technology ventures born out of USM’s 12 institutions. The Momentum Fund helps early stage companies move beyond grant funding andâ€¯early stage seed investorsâ€¯to position themselves for commercial launch or to reinforce commercialization at the early revenue stage. The Momentum Fund is continuing to invest in companies affiliated with the USM despite the COVID-19 pandemic and encourages applications through the Fund website at www.momentum.usmd.edu.
About the USM Momentum Fund
The Maryland Momentum Fund is an initiative of the University System of Maryland (USM) to provide late seed investment funding for promising technology ventures that come out of any of the 12 constituent USM institutions, its research parks, and its students, faculty, or graduates. With a $10M commitment from the USM already in place, the Fund co-invests with venture capitalists, foundations, and angel investors.
The Maryland Momentum Fund was established by the USM Board of Regents to support promising commercial opportunities arising from advances in research and intellectual property at USM campuses, and its portfolio companies includeâ€¯MF Fire, NextStep Robotics, the North American Wave Engine Corporation, Zest Tea, PaverGuide, Retrium, Veralox Therapeutics, Gemstone Biotherapeutics, Neoprogen, Minnowtech, ARMR Systems, Infercabuary, Datakwip, pathOtrak, KaloCyte, MiRecule, N5 Sensors, VisiSonics, and Voxy EngGen. The Fund is designed to create returns and support USM’s most innovative ideas as they enter the marketplace. Learn more at www.momentum.usmd.edu.
About Voxy EnGen
Voxy EnGen is a virtual English language instruction platform for immigrants, refugees, and workers with limited English proficiency (LEP) who deserve self-sufficiency, economic mobility, civic participation, and a better quality of life.
Launched in 2018, Voxy EnGen is the brainchild of Dr. Katie Nielson, our Chief Education Officer and Founder, who holds a PhD in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and over twenty years of experience in English as a second language (ESL) instruction, teacher training, and applied language research. After spending nearly a decade at Voxy, Inc. where she was able to build and patent an award-winning language learning platform for global employers, Katie wanted to focus on a hugely underserved population here at home. While there is a national focus on reskilling and upskilling adults in the U.S. for the jobs of the future, immigrants, refugees, and other LEP individuals are often precluded from these programs simply because they lack the English skills.
Voxy EnGen is the only English language learning platform in the industry that is adaptive and personalized, with proprietary AI, and meets the needs and aspirations of diverse adult learners who have different proficiency levels, native languages, experiences, and career goals.
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Contact – Voxy EnGen
Gregg Levin, CEO
Contact: Mike Lurie