Launching Ogma—AI-simulated speech and language therapy for children


Launching Ogma—AI-simulated speech and language therapy for children

Words Founders Factory

April 25th 2024 / 3 min read

The problem

Speech and language is a crucial early step in learning. Children who face speech and language problems which go unresolved will see significant knock-on effects further down the line. They are twice as likely to experience mental health problems, and twice as likely to be unemployed as adults. 

This problem is at breaking point. In the UK alone, 1.9M children have speech and language needs—disproportionately impacting lower income families, where around 50% of children experience these challenges. Families face up to four years on an NHS waiting list, while private therapy is simply not an affordable option. 

The existing community of speech and language therapists (SLTs) are bearing a huge burden of this problem. 60% of SLTs report burnout, while 25% of positions go unfilled.

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The solution

Ogma Therapy is an AI-powered speech and language therapy service that combines human expertise with AI technology to enable SLTs to treat ten times as many children. 

At the core of the platform are the ‘Ogs’—animated, AI-driven therapeutic agents whodeliver evidence-based intervention through naturalistic speech and interaction. They work alongside qualified Ogma therapists to deliver a totally new kind of therapeutic journey. 

Ogs are powered by a phoneme-level speech recognition model built on a  large, proprietary dataset of atypical child speech samples. Data is collected bythe Ogma Assistant platform, a software for SLTs that automates clinical note taking and report writing using AI. This in turn saves SLTs up to 30% of their time. 

The team

Louise Weiss (CEO & co-founder)

Louise is a seasoned entrepreneur and Cognitive Neuroscientist. She has a PhD in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience from the UCL Institute of Child Health. Prior to Ogma, she co-founded dotte, the UK’s leading resale platform for children’s clothing. 

Cole Robertson (CTO & co-founder)

Cole brings deep technical expertise in the overlap of AI and cognitive processes. He has a PhD in Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics. He was also CTO at Texture AI, an organisation exploring the interaction between language, behaviour, and cognition. 

Why we’re excited to invest

Lizzie Hindocha, sector director for Mission Studio, says: “In an industry plagued by long, intransparent waitlists, Ogma enables therapists to deliver therapy at 10x scale. They do this by fusing qualified speech and language therapists delivering high-value touchpoints, with gen AI based admin tooling and cute AI buddies called Ogs, making speech practise fun (and effective!) for kids. CEO Louise, a cognitive neuroscientist, has built an incredible founding team around her with deep clinical and AI expertise. We’ve been hugely impressed by the team’s momentum and scientific rigour in product and distribution experimentations and are delighted to back this game-changing founding team.”

What Ogma is looking to get out of the programme

  • Raise £400k to get us to a point where we are financially self-sustainable with £100k MRR in line of sight

  • Collect our proprietary data set and build our phoneme level speech recognition model

  • Get an MVP AI therapeutic agent into market

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