Erika Hairston and Arnelle Ansong on why they sold their AI platform to Google

Abu Mubarik January 30, 2024
Erika Hairston and Arnelle Ansong. Photo via: Instagram/edlyft

Meet Erika Hairston and Arnelle Ansong; they are the founders of Edlyft, which seeks to provide students access to group tutoring and study groups to excel in computer science courses.

The duo founded the startup in 2019 and today, its potential has caught the attention of Google. Edlyft AI Tutor, Edlyft’s generative AI platform has been purchased by Google, Hairston and Ansong said on Monday.

The purchase, according to them, is to help the startup scale the number of students it can reach. The purchase comes following Edlyft’s first partnership with the tech giant in 2022 for Google Tech Exchange.

The Google Tech Exchange teaches applied data structures (ADS) to students at select Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). The partnership allowed Edlyft to collect hours of video data from tutoring sessions and incorporate it into the Edlyft AI Tutor.

“Historically, Edlyft impacted students in the Google Tech Exchange program by pairing them with an empathetic peer mentor who has aced the course content before. While a fantastic resource, a peer mentor’s time is a constraint that limits how many and how often students can be supported,” Hairston explained to AFROTECH in an interview.

“From our perspective, in Google’s hands, the Edlyft AI Tutor will support a growing number of talented future engineers as Google scales its programs. Our hope is that every student feels seen when they watch videos of peer tutors who look like them and who’ve been in their shoes explaining complex concepts and answering their questions.”

For instance, when students type their questions into a chat box, the AI program will generate an answer and video snippets from the Edlyft AI Tutor. Hairston and Ansong said they can’t wait to see how their technology will continue to make waves, creating a lasting impact on students at select HBCUs and HSIs through Google Tech Exchange.

“In Tech Exchange, CS basics meet cutting-edge tech to equip students with the skills they need to navigate the ever-evolving tech landscape,” Google’s education equity team leader, Jess Hill, said in the announcement of the purchase.

“Our partnership with Edlyft has already amplified learning outcomes, and we’re thrilled to unlock even deeper impact through their AI-powered platform, which will amplify effective support and ignite every student to thrive.”

Hairston and Ansong founded Edlyft after they graduated from Yale and Stanford, respectively intending to make the tech industry more accessible. Since founding it, they have built a successful tech startup that has closed some of the biggest companies as customers, surpassed seven figures in revenue, and raised millions of venture capital, Hairston told Her Campus.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 30, 2024


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