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Foundations in Learning, Inc.

Foundations in Learning improves lives by improving literacy. We provide software tools to educators and parents to help children learn to read.

  • Stage Full Product Ready
  • Industry Software
  • Location Iowa City, IA, USA
  • Currency USD
  • Founded October 2009
  • Employees 8
  • Website

Company Summary

20 million children in the US struggle to read and Foundations in Learning (FIL) has a unique approach to this problem. FIL combines 30 years of reading research with a proven learning model into a software platform called Access Code. Access Code achieves more effective results than other methods and has already helped over 6,600 children learn to read. Adopted by 40+ schools and parents across the US, Access Code is positioned for growth.


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    Jason Smith

    Jason Smith received his B.A. in Economics from Brown University and an M.B.A. (1994) with a concentration in Finance from the University of Iowa. He joins Foundations in Learning from ACT, Inc. and was with Breakthrough to Literacy for 14 years. His eighteen years of experience in the educational publishing/assessment markets have encompassed a range of responsibilities including sales, management, marketing, and program implementation.

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    Jerry Zimmermann
    Founder & Research

    Jerry Zimmermann, Ph.D., J.D. received a B.A. in Psychology from Brown University, an M.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Southern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in Speech Science (1973) from the University of Iowa. His research at the University earned him the distinction of being a leading authority on stuttering.

    Dr. Zimmermann founded Breakthrough to Literacy, Inc., an early literacy program, in 1991 that was sold to McGraw-Hill.

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    John Sims

    John Sims received his B.A. in Business Administration from Graceland University and an M.B.A. (1992) from the University of Iowa. He joins Foundations in Learning from Hitachi Consulting, a global management and technology consultancy. After starting his career with Breakthrough to Literacy, he brings twenty years of experience leading sales and marketing organizations in both entrepreneurial start up environments and mid-size firms.

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    Eric Soride

    Eric Soride received B.A. degrees (1998) in Political Science and Religion from the University of Iowa. He has fourteen years of experience managing all technological aspects involved in the development, testing, and support of software-based educational products. He joins Foundations in Learning after working for 10 years for Breakthrough to Literacy in a range of operational and technology roles.

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    Carolyn Brown
    Founder & Development

    Carolyn Brown, Ph.D. received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Eastern New Mexico University. She studied at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, where she earned her Ph.D. (1981) in the same field. Dr. Brown’s areas of specialization are Child Development, Language Acquisition, and Reading.

    Dr. Brown founded Breakthrough to Literacy, Inc., an early literacy program, in 1991 that was sold to McGraw-Hill.


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    Phelan, Tucker, Mullen, Walker, Tucker & Gelman, LLP, Iowa City, IA; McKee Voorhees & Sease, PLC, Des Moines, IA
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    McGladrey LLP, Iowa City, IA

Previous Investors

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    Carolyn Brown, Jerry Zimmermann, Jason Smith
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    Eric Soride, John Sims, Chuck Peters,
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    Hass Machlab, Jack Evans, Fred Hubbell