We had the good fortune of connecting with Lewis Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lewis, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Prior to starting my business, I was a faculty member at USC, where I did research in artificial intelligence in education. I recognized if I founded a company our technology could reach more people than it ever would at a university. That proved to be true; so far over 500,000 people have learned with Alelo products.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Alelo develops artificial intelligence-driven products that help students learn better and help teachers teach better. Students learn by engaging in conversations with AI-driven avatars, on their computers or mobile phones. Students like that they can practice at their own pace without fear of making mistakes, and get personalized feedback and instruction in the areas where they need to improve. Teachers like that it saves them time and effort. Because students can learn more on their own they come to class better prepared. Teachers can track student progress and identify which ones are struggling and need additional help. We developed the initial technology at USC and have been further developing it ever since. At the beginning we encountered a lot of skepticism about the AI as a practical technology, as well as fear that AI would put teachers out of jobs. Teachers now see the benefits and are strong proponents. Because our technology runs in the cloud it is available to students and teachers around the world. We are especially pleased with the response we have gotten in Latin America.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to hear concerts and experience LA’s vibrant music scene. Groups such as Los Angeles Master Chorale and the LA Philharmonic are true gems and second to none. Plus, they could get to experience the Disney Hall or the Hollywood Bowl. I would take them to dinner at some of the great restaurants in LA’s culturally diverse neighborhoods. I would take them on a walking tour of Venice, including the canals and the beach, and perhaps have sushi at Restaurant Hama. And I would try to fit in a trip to Catalina—a part of Los Angeles County that feels like another world.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First, I want to dedicate this to the team at Alelo. They are committed, talented team, and fun to work with. I also want to dedicate this to my CEO coach, Shel Brucker, who taught me a lot about how to lead and run a business.
© Alelo. Used with permission.