SOURCE: Keiretsu Forum

January 19, 2007 14:48 ET

Keiretsu Forum Angels Invest in First Angel-Backed Autism Business

Keiretsu Forum Portfolio Company, Animated Speech Corp., Raises $250,000 in Series C Round Funding

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 19, 2007 -- Keiretsu Forum, the nation's largest investment community of private equity (angel) investors, VCs and corporate investors, today announced its investment in Animated Speech Corp., the pioneer creators of software-based language learning tools for children with speech and language impairments.

Animated Speech Corp. has closed its Series C round with $250,000 in equity funding, with members of the Keiretsu Forum Northern California chapters leading the round along with the Sierra Angels and Vegas Valley Angels. The funding will enable Animated Speech Corp. to scale its production to meet the growing demands of the niche market.

"Keiretsu Forum provides a structured approach to private equity investments, allowing like-minded business leaders to work together and assess investment opportunities and then make individual investment decisions," said Randy Williams, Founder and CEO of Keiretsu Forum.

In this instance Keiretsu Forum made its investment in Animated Speech Corp, due to the company's powerful speech software and technology, which has been proven to improve the rate of language acquisition for both special education and adult foreign language learners. The foundation of the business is a proprietary, state-of-the-art facial animation engine and animated tutor that mirrors what a real teacher does by providing guidance, encouragement and feedback.

"The power of our business is that we not only provide expert developed lessens to schools and parents, but we also empower teachers, therapists, and experts of all types to use our lesson creation software to make their own language learning lessons. Our customers can address a highly specific set of needs to any child and then share the lessons with others," said Dan Feshbach, Chairman and Co-Founder of Animated Speech Corp.

Ian Rogoff, Keiretsu Forum Member, LBO general partner and former Microsoft VP, shared his enthusiasm over the funding. "Animated Speech Corp is a socially responsible company, whose software has a profound impact on learning-challenged children. I'm excited to see this trend develop -- especially with the creation of the Keiretsu Forum Social Investing Committee. I expect to see many more such opportunities come our way."

About Keiretsu Forum

Keiretsu Forum is the largest North American angel network with 10 chapters and over 500 accredited investor members. Since September 2000, Keiretsu Forum members have invested more than $80 million in 130 companies in technology, healthcare/life sciences, consumer products, real estate and other segments with high growth potential. Our community is strengthened through education on angel investing, as well as charitable and social activities.

About Animated Speech Corp.

Animated Speech is a new company formed to bring speech and language-learning technology using 3D tutors to the special needs educational market. The company's mission is to create highly customizable software for children with autism and other speech, language and hearing impairments.

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