In a difficult economic situation, knowing multiple languages is perhaps one of the most significant competitive advantages that prospective applicants can have. Many will learn languages like English in school, but that can take years and some may not have the time to devote to it. For others, there are a host of language-learning platforms out there. Israeli language-learning startup Lingua.ly may be a bit late to the game, having launched in 2013. The service has nonetheless established as one of the hottest newcomers in this market, claiming over 500,000 users across their various apps already.
There is no correct way to learn a language, as different people may learn in different ways. Lingua.ly has opted for a practical approach, having users dive right into the language and learning by struggling through real news articles. Signing up for the service, I opted to start with Russian and was presented with the words for “cat” and “dog”, offered articles that use those particular words. From there, users have the option of double-clicking on other words to have those translated (as well as having the word read out loud),by adding language packs, or by adding your own words, if you know any. Although languages can be fun to learn, it can be a bit of a slog and tedious after awhile, which is which Lingua.ly makes a game of it by allowing users to rack up points by learning new words, reading articles, and taking quizzing, rewarding the biggest achievers with a spot on the leaderboard. One of the nicer aspects of the service, from the perspective of the end-user, is that the basic service is free, while power users can pay for additional features.
Lingua.ly has gone beyond the typical apps developed by startups, offering an app for Android, iOS, and an extension for Chrome, in addition to the web service. It is interesting that they actually put out the Chrome extension before they released their app for Android.
Last week, Lingua.ly announced that they have pulled in $1 million from undisclosed private and public investors. The startup has already gone global, with 80% of their users taking advantage of the platform to study English, with the majority of them coming from Brazil, China, Russia, and the Middle East. With this latest funding round, the company says that they are planning to continue their global reach, as well as develop the service for new platforms.