Readfa.st is an instructional speedreading site with a gaming mechanic and it launched its private beta today (instructions on how to join appear below).
Ani Ravi, Sasha Katsnelson, and Brian Pantano are three friends who co-founded the site at the beginning of this year, working on it in their spare time.
They got the idea when they noticed that Ravi, a third year law student at Harvard, was reading over 1,000 words a minute while Katsnelson, an analyst for Yahoo, was clocking in around 250 words per minute.
With the help of Pantano, who had spent several years programming for major banks, the three built Readfa.st. Each of them has used the product to dramatically increase their words per minute.
“There are a few key facts that make this perfect space for us to play around in,” said Katsnelson. “All the education in speedreading is essentially public domain. It hasn’t adapted to the internet. And there hasn’t been much in the area change since the 70s. This makes it easy to build the best tool that exists today. So we did.”
The game element is currently a bit limited and will be updated in future releases, but Readfa.st’s training mechanic is ready to go. Give the site a URL and it will process the text, showing you 10 words at a time at your appropriate speed.
Users will be able to establish their current words per minute, keep track of what their friends are reading, and socialize inside of the site. They’ll also practice reading faster and faster, literally levelling up to demonstrate their progress.
Katsnelson said, “People are usually doing one of two things online – socializing or scoring points. What if we could integrate these to teach people how to read faster?”
It could become an RPG that gives you a skill for your real life.
If you want to join the private beta, head to readfa.st and use the invitation code BUSINESSINSIDER.