Rewriting the online skrit: Literacy app Skritswap secures funding.

Author:Kelly, Lindsay
Position:NEWS
 
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Less than a year since she took on her role as an entrepreneur full time, Melissa Kargiannakis has raised US$500,000 in pre-seed startup funding to further advance her text-translation software Skritswap.

In September, Kargiannakis announced that a group of funders, led by Unshackled Ventures, a Silicon Valley, Calif.-based, early-stage fund, was providing the financing to help further fine-tune the technology, which helps readers across literacy levels understand information online.

"Silicon Valley has a high concentration of capital at an absolutely unfathomable scale, and when you work with investors out here the customer service component is fantastic because there's so much competition," she said.

"There are 1,600 venture capital firms just in the valley, and that does not include individual private investors. So the servicing you get and the competition to fund you is really high, which is amazing because you actually really do get to work with some of the best investors that you want to work with."

Formerly known as Heuristext, Skritswap is an online application that uses artificial intelligence to swap out difficult-to-understand text on a web page with text that's simpler and easier to digest. The idea is to match what the user is reading with their literacy level, so that anyone, with any level of ability, can understand whatever they're reading, on any web page.

So far, Skritswap's paying clients have come to her, with companies in the finance and insurance industries--Business Development Bank of Canada, Manulife --finding the most value in the technology.

Kargiannakis said this new round of funding will be used for two purposes: increasing the percentage of documents translated by machine automation, and addressing specific problems faced by paying customers.

Customers can either subscribe to the service, or work with Skritswap on a specific...

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