Most people will spend years studying language, but that requires people to plan ahead for what they may later need and require significant investment in terms of time and money. One of the most popular alternatives is Rosetta Stone, but the cheapest plans for those looking to subscribe or buy their DVDs cost hundreds of dollars. Lithuanian startup Bliu Bliu aims to fill this space with a personalized, and cheaper, service that focuses on using what the student knows and going from there.
Users of this service, which is free at the most basic level, start out by selecting a language that they would like to learn. From there, they go through a short process to personalize the content of the program, which is drawn from across the internet (or users can upload their own texts to obtain translations), and proceed to read texts that include words which the user already understands. The idea is to take words that the user already knows and to add in a few unfamiliar ones, in order to gradually boost the student’s skill level. They have opted for a freemium model, letting users take advantage of the site for free for 5 minutes and then pausing for another 5 minutes before using it again. However, those who want to skip the pause can go ahead and pay 8 Euro monthly or 60 Euro annually to do so.
Bliu Bliu has been around for a few years, having launched back in February 2013, but they have not necessarily yet gained wide-scale notoriety out of Lithuania. Thus far, the company claims 10,000 monthly active users and 150,000 overall users.
Notable about Bliu Bliu is that they have attracted a large number of users without a huge amount of external funding. CEO and founder Claudio Santori tells me that the company is backed by 200,000 Euro from a pair of angels, one from Lithuania and one from Finland.