Monday, July 15, 2024

Language Learning App Speak Raises $20M, Doubling Valuation


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  • Speak, an AI-powered language learning app has raised $20 million in Series B funding, doubling its valuation to $500 million.
  • The app has grown rapidly, with over 10 million users worldwide, and plans to expand its language offerings.
  • Speak emphasizes speaking practice over traditional language learning methods, offering subscription-based access to its features.

AI-powered language learning app Speak is making headlines again. Since its debut in South Korea in 2019, Speak has rapidly expanded, attracting over 10 million users globally.

CEO and co-founder Connor Zwick shared with TechCrunch that the user base has been doubling annually for the past five years, and Speak now boasts users in more than 40 countries.

To support its ongoing expansion, Speak has secured additional funding. This week, the company closed a $20 million Series B extension, led by Buckley Ventures.

The round also saw participation from the OpenAI Startup Fund, Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham, and LinkedIn executive chairman Jeff Weiner.

This latest injection of capital brings Speak’s total funding to $84 million and doubles its valuation to an impressive $500 million.

Speak was launched in 2014 by Zwick and Andrew Hsu, who met through the Thiel Fellowship.

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The app aims to teach languages by encouraging users to practice speaking and repetition through specially designed lessons, rather than focusing on memorizing vocabulary and grammar.

This approach is somewhat similar to Duolingo, especially with Duolingo’s newer AI features. However, Speak sets itself apart by prioritizing speaking practice.

“Our core philosophy is centered around getting users to speak out loud as much as possible,” Zwick explained. “Achieving fluency helps people form connections, bridges cultures, and creates economic opportunities.

Speaking is the most crucial part of language learning, yet it’s often the least supported by technology.”

Initially offering English lessons, Speak has since expanded to include Spanish, utilizing a speech recognition model trained on its in-house data. French is next on the list, though Zwick did not specify when these lessons will be available.

Speak generates revenue by charging a subscription fee of $20 per month or $99 per year, providing access to all app features, including review materials and special courses.

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The company operates with a 75-person team spread across offices in San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo, and Ljubljana, Slovenia. In the near future, Speak aims to develop new models that offer improved real-time feedback on users’ tone and pronunciation.

As Speak continues to grow, its innovative approach to language learning, emphasizing verbal practice, is set to help even more people achieve fluency and unlock new opportunities.

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Emily Parker
Emily Parker
Emily Parker is a seasoned tech consultant with a proven track record of delivering innovative solutions to clients across various industries. With a deep understanding of emerging technologies and their practical applications, Emily excels in guiding businesses through digital transformation initiatives. Her expertise lies in leveraging data analytics, cloud computing, and cybersecurity to optimize processes, drive efficiency, and enhance overall business performance. Known for her strategic vision and collaborative approach, Emily works closely with stakeholders to identify opportunities and implement tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of each organization. As a trusted advisor, she is committed to staying ahead of industry trends and empowering clients to embrace technological advancements for sustainable growth.

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