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Fluentify, a language learning marketplace based in London, raised $410k Angel Round led by Stefano Marsaglia.
The funding will be used to grow the team and expand the service in Southern Europe.
Fluentify currently only offers English lessons with tutors via video chat. According to TechCrunch the main differentiator between Fluentify and competitors like Verbling, Myngle or italki is that tutors on the site are not only professional ESL teachers but also working professionals in a variety of fields. With this the startup aims to make the learning closer related to the needs of its learners.
Fluentify’s platform is entirely web-based, learners and teachers connect via the site without external VoIP programs like Skype or Google Hangouts. The tutors are preselected to guarantee a certain quality and are able to charge between $8 and $30 per 30 minutes. Fluentify takes a 20% cut.
The idea is basically the same one eduFire or Myngle had some six years ago. The advantage of new startups in the field is that over time video calls became a commodity and through protocols like WebRTC there is no need for external and often unreliable communications infrastructure.
Smartphones and mobile flat rates with integrated data plans enable learners to really take lessons whenever they want and wherever they are and new payment providers take out the hassle of paying for classes with credit cards.
The platforms from the first batch that have actually survived until today, like italki for instance, now face competition from upstarts like Fluentify that start with a blank slate, fresh design and an infrastructure that is mobile first. Other than that these new startups will face the same challenges as the platforms and marketplaces before them, from teacher and lesson quality to student retention.
Being a former language coach myself, the one plus point I see for Fluentify is the apparent focus on conversational skills as the tagline says “Speaking, everything changes.” From my experiences this hits the nail on its head for the vast majority of language learners. But still, FNAC.
- Language Learning Platform Fluentify Takes In $410K Angel Investment | TechCrunch
- Why Live Lessons are FNACs | Kirsten Winkler