Smart AI English Pronunciation Assistant ELSA Secures $7 Million in Series A Funding
ELSA, a mobile app that uses artificial intelligence and speech recognition technology to help language learners improve their English pronunciation, announced a Series A round of $7 million in capital led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, with previous investors Monk’s Hill Ventures and SOSV also participating.
ELSA has experienced exponential growth in 2018 of 3.5 times in paid subscriptions from language learners, as compared to 2017. The company will hire additional AI scientists and engineers to expand its AI and speech recognition capabilities which help people improve their English speaking skills. Due to ELSA’s rising popularity in Asia, the company will also hire a local team to establish its business and operations in Tokyo, Japan.
ELSA (English Language Speech Assistant) helps 1.5 billion English language learners across the globe with an easy way to improve their English speaking ability. The company has built its own proprietary speech technology using deep learning and AI to detect people's pronunciation mistakes with 95%+ accuracy. The app listens to the way language learners pronounce words, sentences, or conversations to pinpoint exact errors and provide real-time, accurate feedback on their pronunciation mistakes with specific suggestions on how to improve.
Later this year, ELSA will also introduce new social features to foster community-based learning and build out more advanced AI capabilities to evaluate other speech elements like rhythm and intonation for a more complete evaluation of learners’ speech. Vietnam has been the fastest growing market for ELSA. Specifically, ELSA grew its business 4x in Vietnam within 2018 alone and it expects to grow at a faster pace in 2019. After a successful pilot program of its educational platform in Vietnam, ELSA will open the teacher platform offering to a global market. This platform allows English teachers and schools to integrate ELSA into their curriculum and help students with their speaking skills.
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