HEDLINE: Estonian Language Learning Startup Lingvist raises €1 million

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Estonian language learning startup Lingvist announced a €1 million Seed Round led by SmartCap with participation of Inventure and several angel investors today.

Lingvist is also taking part in the TechStars London 2014 Cohort.

Key Takeaway

Lingvist, formerly Language Accelerator, is an Estonian startup that wants to help you learn any language in 200h by the means of applying big data and mathematical concepts to the learning process and therefore reducing the time needed to learn a new language by 90%.

The idea was born out of a personal need. Lingvist co-founder Mait Müntel was looking for language learning applications when he wanted to learn French but none of the existing solutions fit his needs.

“I had always wanted to learn new languages, but never had the time to do so. All the existing language learning tools tend to be inefficient and so I decided to build my own. I tried the prototype on myself and it took me only 200 hours to learn French, which I took as a sign that I’m onto something remarkable.”

Müntel who holds a PhD in Physics and worked at CERN found that by subjecting languages to statistical analysis, establishing frequencies and correlations and by generally optimising the memorisation process he was not only able to drastically reduce the time spent learning a language but also reaching a level that was good enough to pass the Estonian State Exam for French in just 200 hours of learning according to TechCrunch.

Lingvist’s adaptive learning technology automatically tracks what the learner knows and what needs to be reviewed which results into different learning paths for each individual user. It also helps to fill the knowledge gaps more efficiently, keeping the learner motivated and engaged without feeling over- or underchallenged.

Competing language learning startup Duolingo claims similar success with its learning program. In a study commissioned by the startup in late 2012 to test the efficiency of its product, the research team came to the conclusion that “a person with no knowledge of Spanish would need between 26 and 49 hours (or 34 hours on average) to cover the material for the first college semester of Spanish.”

Further Reading

  • Lingvist Raises €1 Million To Reduce The Time It Takes To Learn A New Language | TechCrunch
  • Overview: The two Edtech Startups in the TechStars London 2014 Cohort | EDUKWEST
  • HEDLINE: Duolingo raises $20 million Series C | EDUKWEST
  • Duolingo Effectiveness Study | Duolingo

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Kay Alexander

Managing Editor at EDUKWEST Europe
Kay Alexander is the Managing Editor of EDUKWEST Europe and Creative Director of Winkler Media.

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