HelloTalk EdTech Startup Profile EDUKWEST

Startup Profile: HelloTalk

In Asia mobile phones are more intensively used than in North America or Europe. Often they are the main computing device, replacing laptops or desktop computers entirely. This also means that mobile phones are more and more used to perform different tasks in the field of learning, from sharing questions related to homework to learning a new language.

HelloTalk offers a social app that connects language learners from across the globe. The app features a set of different tools to facilitate exchange within the community, and to help community members to learn a new language.

Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.

HelloTalk is a language & culture exchange social app. Users learn and exchange 100+ languages with language partners from 150+ countries worldwide.

Who are the founders.

Zackery is founder of HelloTalk. Born in China, raised in HK, and educated in the US, Zackery can speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Japanese (intermediate). Currently, Zackery is learning Spanish (beginner).

Zackery created HelloTalk so language learners worldwide can find like-minded language exchange partners easily.

What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.

The difficulty for language learners is to find language exchange partners through websites. Also it’s difficult to maintain contact through the web. HelloTalk aims to solve this problem.

In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.

We are currently active in Korea, Japan, China, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Russia, France, Turkey.

We plan to expand to India, Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, Argentina next.

Who is your target audience.

Language learners who want to practice with native speakers in the languages they are learning.

Who are your competitors? What sets you apart from them?

While Duolingo and Busuu provide language learners with quizzes, exercises, and course content, HelloTalk emphasizes on practice with real humans. The app also features Text to Speech, Voice Recognition, Translation, Transliteration, Sentence Favorites, and Grammar Correction.

What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.

Value added pro membership features for US$0.99 per month. The first language pair is free, learning extra languages costs US$1.99 each.

If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.

We plan to raise funding in the next six months.

Are there milestones you are especially proud of and would like to share.

HelloTalk should cross the 1 million user registration mark by end of March, 2015.

What are the next steps in growing your startup.

Allow users to join language groups based on interest and topics they want to discuss.

How can people get in touch with you.



Website | iTunes App Store | Google Play

Kay Alexander is the co-founder and creative director of EDUKWEST. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

  • Arkady Zilberman

    I doubt that the main problem in learning a foreign language is “the difficulty for language learners to find language exchange partners through websites.”

    In my opinion, the problem could be described as:

    1. The unprecedented growth of English as the Global language requires changing our approach to teaching and learning. We should stop using traditional methods of learning, considering language as information to be memorized. We need implement new acquisition methods, which consider a language as a skill to be trained.

    2. Gap between technology and pedagogy is obvious. Here is how Von Ahn, founder of Duolingo, the champion of online learning, evaluates his program: “You can learn to the point where you can navigate and have relatively simple conversations.”
    It is not enough!

    Nowadays, “English language is not a foreign language anymore; it is a
    practical skill needed for everyday life.”

    Language exchange partners are mainly social activity, and not the tool for acquiring
    language skills. Speaking with a partner will reinforce what you know but will
    not teach you new vocabulary or develop intuitive grammar.

    I still believe that HelloTalk is a great mobile application but it needs
    modifications to become really useful application in acquiring language skills.

  • Actually, I’m practicing my target language every day using the HelloTalk app (http://j.mp/HelloTalkApp) and it’s awesome. You can get a free membership from them by texting “M3L” to HelloTalk Team. They’ll send you a gift card.

    Anyway, good article! Thank you for sharing! 🙂