During last week’s event on Multilingualism in Europe we were talking about trends in language learning that are driven by new technology, data and a new mindset when it comes to what learners expect these days.
Some of the key trends we see at EDUKWEST are around personalization, effectiveness and quicker results, trends that are also at the core of the edtech startup in today’s profile.
Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.
Lingua.ly is at once an education company, founded by academics and a disruptive tech-startup that has developed the first solution to learning languages via digital immersion. The patent-pending technology behind our platform takes an innovative approach to quantifying language learning through exposure and online interaction. We promote mastery of a foreign language via a personalized, adaptive and fun learning experience derived from real world content, paving the way to fluency by harnessing the natural mobile browsing behavior of our users.
Who are the founders, how did you meet, what are your different roles in the startup.
Jan and Orly met while Jan was doing a post-doc in California and Orly was completing her Phd in Cognitive Science at Stanford. They are polyglots who collectively speak six languages and shared a passion for language learning. Orly and Jan had both achieved fluency via the language learning techniques encompassed in the Lingua.ly platform and wanted to put the functionality under one roof. They used Orly’s background in language and research combined with Jan’s algorithm and expertise as a developer as the idea for the original product which then evolved from there. Jan is our current CEO and Orly is head of Learning.
What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.
The web provides a unique opportunity for language learning spanning all subjects, levels and registers with a constantly updated array of authentic content. But it’s very hard to use in its raw form. We know from research and experience how learning must be organized to be efficient: through gradual expansion of existing knowledge with repetitive exposure to new facts. At Lingua.ly, we bridge the gap between the incredible yet overwhelming wealth of online content and the requirements for systematic learning.
In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.
We are a global company and our solution has spread virally in most regions of the world. However, we have been particularly well received in Brazil and other Latin American countries as well as China where we were the number one educational app after launching our Android on Google Play in April. We have a growing presence in the EU, particularly in Spain and the Netherlands and we look forward to expanding our reach in the US, Middle East and Russia particularly with higher education college student users.
Who is your target audience.
Our target audience is users of online and digital language learning products as well as classroom based language learners. We have recently entered into partnerships with our platforms and providers including the largest textbook maker in Israel which will introduce .5 Million new users to the system next year.
How do you engage with your target audience. How do you convert them into users of your product.
We are a learning solution for language learners of all ages and abilities. Our system is inherently scalable and appropriate for both an academic and professional user. We noticeably fill a gap in the industry today by providing a digital solution for learners who are beyond a beginner level and require challenge beyond sentence level and grammar focused learning.
What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.
Without the overhead of content development, our core functionality is free of charge with paid premium features for power users and customization for clients such as schools. As our solution is based on granular data points we can also serve as a lead generator for other products in the space.
If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.
We have financed Lingua.ly through Angel investment. 800k USD has been invested to date primarily via two angels.
Are there milestones you are especially proud of and would like to share.
Since launching our first mobile app for Android in April, our WebApp in June and our mobile app for iOS in July we have grown by 300k users, with 100k of those signing up in the past month. Our users have collectively learned 8+ Million words on the system (there is a leaderboard available on our website for an updated figure) and we have been a featured app on Google Play as well as in The New York Times Travel section.
What are the next steps in growing your startup.
We are in the process of building out more features for existing products based on user feedback and enhancing our reach via newly supported languages and platforms, particularly for our browser extension. We’ve recently grown significantly as a team and will be adding more gamification to our practice activities, enhancing our UX and focusing on increasing our user base significantly over the upcoming three months.
Anything else you would like to add.
We are opening our “data” doors and allowing users to import and export words to make our system more compatible with outside platforms and classroom learning. Users can now bring their existing vocabulary into Lingua.ly to use it as a base for exploring related content on the web. Alternatively, our current users can export their collected Lingua.ly words for use in classroom learning or related language platforms which exercise different learning skills. We see ourselves as a complementary platform that plays an essential part in any user’s language learning ecosystem by allowing users to choose the language they would like to learn and steer an experience fueled by real world, authentic text.