Voice AI for Kids Startup SoapBox Labs Acquired by Edtech Firm Curriculum Associates
Child-centered voice AI startup SoapBox Labs has been acquired by education technology provider Curriculum Associates for an undisclosed sum. The Irish startup will operate as a subsidiary of the Massachusetts-based Curriculum Associates as it incorporates SoapBox’s advanced child speech recognition capabilities into its suite of classroom learning products.
Voice AI Education
SoapBox has pioneered speech AI specifically tailored to children’s voices to enable more engaging, equitable educational experiences. Its voice engine serves as the core technology for assessment tools, apps, and platforms supporting early literacy, reading fluency, and language learning. By generating real-time insights on students, SoapBox’s technology allows teachers to better target instruction and personalization to individual needs. Curriculum Associates was founded more than half a century ago and offers technology and tools for teachers, most notably its i-Ready online platform. By integrating SoapBox’s speech recognition capabilities, Curriculum aims to enhance assessment and instruction across essential skills like reading comprehension.
“From the start, SoapBox has been on a mission to build voice technology that powers equitable, engaging, and frictionless digital learning experiences for all kids, regardless of age, accent, or dialect,” SoapBox founder Dr. Patricia Scanlon said. “This partnership with CA will allow us to fulfill this mission for even more young students and their teachers.”
While AI voice recognition has improved enormously, it still struggles with children’s distinct speech cadences and pronunciations. Accent biases also persist, potentially alienating non-native speakers. SoapBox’s child-focused engine accounts for those variables, allowing AI integration into youth education without disadvantaging subgroups. SoapBox already powers several learning apps and its reach will now expand under Curriculum Associates. Curriculum Associates can now tap SoapBox’s youth-centered design and seasoned technical experience in steering appropriate, accountable classroom usage. Their collaboration will set standards in deploying voice AI for learning advancement rather than crude efficiency or cost reduction.
“Curriculum Associates and SoapBox Labs share a commitment to improving student outcomes by expanding access to high-quality instructional materials and innovative technologies,” Curriculum Associates CEO Rob Waldron said. “This groundbreaking partnership will bring state-of-the-art voice technology to more classrooms, helping to ensure every learner is set up for success. It will also deepen and expand an asset-based, inclusive approach to learning across our entire product line.”
SoapBox has been a growing presence in the edtech space over the last few years. A deal with Imagine Learning brought its AI to students using the Fluent Reader+ reading assessment, while MetaMetrics has embedded SoapBox tech in its Lexile Framework of oral reading tests. SoapBox counts educational institutions like Scholastic, McGraw Hill, and Amplify among its clients and served as the impetus for a literacy test designed for Florida State University’s Florida Center for Reading Research. The startup also earned certification from education nonprofit Digital Promise for Prioritizing Racial Equity in AI Design. SoapBox will now take up a research and development role for CA, linking the parent company with the Irish tech scene and talent pool.
“We are excited about this partnership with Curriculum Associates which will solidify Ireland’s reputation as a hub for AI innovation and give our team the opportunity to power better, more equitable outcomes for all students as they progress through their K–12 reading, language, and math journeys,” SoapBox CEO Martyn Farrows said.