Our story starts at the Hadron collider at CERN, where our co-founder, Mait Müntel, was busy discovering the Higgs boson. He’d been living in the French part of Switzerland for years but hadn’t managed to learn the local language, as he didn’t have time to attend classes. Online platforms and language books didn’t give him the vocabulary he needed. In short, progress was slow.
Thus, he decided to approach language learning like a mathematical challenge and build his own solution instead.
After learning with a homemade prototype for 200 hours, he put himself to the test and took a high-school-level French exam, which he passed with a strong overall score. That was the seed for the idea.
Mait took those principles he had used to teach himself and started developing them for public use.
We built our proof of concept after receiving the Prototron Grant, a great seed-funding initiative for budding startups, in March 2013. The following year, we were selected from over 1,500 applicants to participate in the renowned TechStars London accelerator program. With the support of €1m in seed funding from our first investors, we grew a great idea into an amazing team of over 30 people. Together, we work to service a fast-growing language learning community of over 500,000 users around the world.
We get closer every day to our goal of building the future of fast and powerful language learning, and our EU H2020 grant for scientific and technological development and $8m Series A funding led by Rakuten in November 2015 will allow us to do just that – by scaling our team in Estonia, the UK, and around the world to build new and faster algorithms, a better product, a wider selection of languages, and an amazing experience that will help learners acquire new language skills faster than ever.