At Knowji, Inc., we are passionate about making learning easy, engaging and highly effective.


At Harvard University’s Commencement in 2007, Bill Gates delivered a speech in which he urged graduates to respond to the challenge of solving the world’s worst inequities, including poverty, the AIDS epidemic and public education.  At the time, we were veterans of various Silicon Valley companies, and we were looking for a new adventure.  We wanted to put our time and energy into working on a big problem, with the hope of making a positive impact on a great many people's lives.

Gate's speech galvanized us, and focused our attention on public education.  We had been thinking for sometime about how a ubiquitous Internet presence and emerging mobile computing platforms might transform learning.  What we needed to find was a specific area in education where we could begin our work, an area with large and well-documented problems, problems that we believed technology could help ameliorate.

It wasn't hard to find.

According to the Digest of Education Statistics, 36% of American adults range from being non-literate to having low literacy skills.  Moreover, one in two American adults cannot read above an eighth grade level.  According to the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL), functional illiteracy in the workplace costs employers more than $60 billion dollars a year in lost productivity.  At the same time, state budgets are being drained of millions of dollars every year to pay for the large number of community college students who require remedial courses in English.

Poor literacy skills aren't just an expensive problem for society, they are also a pernicious problem for the individual.  As an immigrant growing up in New York City, Emmie had firsthand experience observing the opportunities people missed out on as a result of not having greater verbal skills.  Often, once a person falls behind, it is very difficult for them to catch up.

Through our research we gradually came to understand that vocabulary development is not only a fundamental part of reading comprehension, but of academic achievement in general.  In that discovery lay the exciting possibility that if we could develop a tool that would allow someone to learn words rapidly, and remember everything they are learning, we would have a chance to empower a person in their academic progress and help them get ahead in life.

After many years of development, and dozens of iterations, we finally arrived at a product that does just that, allow someone to learn more in less time.  Our mobile apps are an effective, efficient, and fun way to learn.  We're excited by what we have achieved so far, but this is just the beginning of what we have planned.  We look forward to delivering even more powerful solutions to empower people through education.

Nick and Emmie Thomas, Co-founders, Knowji Inc.