PRESS RELEASE: Cell-Ed selected as a finalist in the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE

PRESS RELEASE: Cell-Ed selected as a finalist in the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE

Cell-Ed Selected as a Finalist in the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE


More than 36M Americans have low literacy skills;

Cell-Ed works to close this gap


Palo Alto, CA (June 25, 2018) — Cell-Ed, a mobile learning solution for low-skilled adults, today announced that it has been named as one of the five finalist teams advancing in the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, a global competition challenging teams to develop mobile applications for existing smart devices that result in the greatest increase in literacy skills among participating adult learners. Cell-Ed was awarded $100,000 for advancing at the 2018 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.

Since July 2017, some 12,000 adults who read English at a third grade level or below have been participating in the Adult Literacy XPRIZE field test, using eight literacy apps across Los Angeles, Dallas and Philadelphia. The field test is currently ongoing.

“The Adult Literacy XPRIZE’s selection of Cell-Ed as a finalist means we are now closer to maybe being as ambitious as our adult learners, who often work more than two jobs for low wages and raise children, while also trying to improve their literacy and basic skills,” said Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami, CEO and Founder, Cell-Ed. “I want to thank XPRIZE for giving us the opportunity to reach, teach and learn from these always-striving adults. We couldn’t look forward more to the competition’s final months, which will see us delve deeper into advancing learners’ educational and career goals and putting a dent in the country’s skills gap.”

The Adult Literacy XPRIZE aims to dramatically change the way the United States meets the needs of the 36 million adults across the nation with low literacy skills by tackling the largest obstacles to achieving basic literacy – access, retention and scale.

To date, Adult Literacy XPRIZE learners who’ve used Cell-Ed have:

  • learned three concrete skills in a 10-minute session, which is equivalent to one hour in a classroom
  • demonstrated a 48.9 percentage point increase between pre-assessment and post-assessment questions answered correctly


The Adult Literacy XPRIZE will award a $3M Grand Prize to the team with the best performance across all adult learners in the field test, which concludes in October 2018. A panel of expert judges will analyze the results and the winner will be announced in early 2019. Two $1M Achievement Prizes will also be awarded to the two teams with the best performance in each of the two key demographic groups: native English speakers and English language learners.

For more information about Cell-Ed, please visit High-resolution images and other team visuals are available upon request.

For more information about the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, visit

About Cell-Ed

Cell-Ed offers a complete mobile solution for employers and education providers to reach, retain and upskill millions of low-skilled, low-literate workers worldwide on any mobile device – even flip phones – with no internet connection or data plan needed. Our personalized and scalable platform, real-world courses and customizable content are used by Discovery, AT&T, the States of New York and Texas, SEIU, the Los Angeles Public Library and others. Their learners experience 84% faster skills gains with Cell-Ed. We are a social enterprise based in Palo Alto, California. For more information, visit


XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE. For more information, visit