About Us

Learn about Lingvist, our story, and what we are doing every day to take your vocabulary to the next level.

The Lingvist team

Lingvist is an education company working to make language learning 10x faster by using big data and AI. Lingvist maps the knowledge and skills of each learner, adapting learning materials in real time and creating an experience that is pleasantly and uniquely challenging for every individual learner. Lingvist has developed exceptional language analysis methods, enabling the program to swiftly customize course content to teach language for a particular context.

The Lingvist story

It all began in the mountains of Switzerland, where our co-founder, Mait Müntel, was part of the Higgs boson discovery team at CERN. He’d been living in the French-speaking part of Switzerland for years but hadn’t managed to learn the local language, since he didn’t have time to attend classes, and digital tools and language books didn’t provide him with the vocabulary he needed. Frustrated by how difficult it was to make progress, Mait had given up learning French time and time again.

He then got the idea to approach language learning like a mathematical challenge and decided to build his own solution instead. Mait’s prototype drew upon the machine learning work he had used while searching for the boson particle, along with the basics of language statistics and cognitive science theory.

Lingvist meeting focusing on its founder, Mait Müntel

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 score. That was the seed from which Lingvist took root.

Mait took those principles he had used to teach himself and started developing them for anyone to use, with the goal of significantly accelerating language learning and reducing inefficiency in the learning process.

We built our proof of concept after receiving the Prototron Grant, a seed-funding initiative for budding startups, in March 2013. In 2014 Lingvist was selected from a pool of over 1,500 applicants to participate in the world-renowned TechStars London accelerator program. With the support of €1m in seed funding from our first investors, a generous grant for scientific and technological development from the EU Horizon 2020 programme, and $8m in Series A funding led by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, Lingvist has been building the future of fast and efficient learning.

Lingvist meeting

Today, Lingvist is an eclectic team of more than 40 language and technology lovers hailing from around the world. Members include alumni from Skype and CERN, and specialists in areas ranging from AI and computational linguistics to UX and product development. Our team has already innovated educational technology, and we are set on pioneering many new breakthroughs in the years to come.

Meet our team

  • Mait Müntel

    Mait Müntel

    Founder and CEO

    +

    Mait Müntel

    Founder and Chief Executive Officer

    Mait Müntel is a nuclear physicist and an entrepreneur. He received his PhD in theoretical physics in 2008 from the University of Tartu in Estonia.

    During his studies, he worked as a teacher of physics to secondary school students. Mait also worked at CERN within the CMS experiments division for 9 years and was part of the Higgs boson discovery team in Switzerland in 2012.

    After the particle’s discovery, Mait got the idea to use the same algorithms from particle physics to help people learn new languages 10 times faster. He co-founded Lingvist, which has since grown from a great idea into an amazing team of over 30 people.

    Contact

  • Lisa Ockinga

    Lisa Ockinga

    Head of Product

    +

    Lisa Ockinga

    Head of Product

    As the Head of Product, Lisa ensures that the team builds one coherent product that brings as much value to the user as possible.

    She is able to zoom into minute details while seeing the grand picture at the same time and always has a master plan.

    Lisa spends a good chunk of time talking to users to understand their problems, how they’re getting along with new features, and what’s missing for them. These learnings then directly flow into Lingvist’s product development.

    She loves puns, the mountains, climbing, and a good Primitivo.

    Contact

  • Paweł Mandera

    Paweł Mandera

    Head of Research

    +

    Paweł Mandera

    Head of Research

    Natural Language Processing / Cognitive Science / AI / Data Science

    Contact

  • Kirsika Vaher

    Kirsika Vaher

    Operations Manager

    +

    Kirsika Vaher

    Operations Manager

    Managing Lingvist’s operations and finance, Kirsika ensures all the numbers run correctly in Excel and business operations are in order.

    Kirsika has strong concentration skills, whether there is a need to dig into a long Word document or Excel – something any parent has in order to survive. Lingvist’s operations team is small but powerful, and team effort is the keyword behind any bigger task.

    Family time is also a priority, so you might find her cycling around the neighborhood in Tallinn or staying at her country house and enjoying Estonia’s peaceful nature. Traveling is also a true love, one that she knows to offer excitement at every turn, whether the road leads to hiking or snowboarding, or just wandering around in a new, sometimes already known and visited city in a foreign country.

  • Fermín Martin

    Fermín Martin

    Scientific Advisor

    +

    Fermín Martin

    Scientific Advisor

    I am a quantitative scientist with 21 years of experience – both in industry and in academia – in creating meaning from complex data in multiple fields (Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, Statistics, Neuroscience, Natural Language Processing, Linguistics, Psychology).

    I have led teams developing cutting-edge technologies in the domains of e-health and e-learning, including technologies such as Empathic AI, Explainable AI, Privacy-Preserving AI, and Natural Language Processing. I have also personally developed and published novel mathematical techniques for data analysis.

    Contact

  • Maria Heitmeier

    Maria Heitmeier

    Cognitive Scientist

    +

    Maria Heitmeier

    Cognitive Scientist

    With my cross-disciplinary knowledge of cognitive science, natural language processing, learning theory, and machine learning, I help provide content and contribute to the science behind Lingvist.

    Contact

  • Tanel Hiir

    Tanel Hiir

    Co-founder & Technical Fellow

    +

    Tanel Hiir

    Co-founder & Technical Fellow

  • Erik Laansoo

    Erik Laansoo

    Developer

    +

    Erik Laansoo

    Developer

    I love building things; I love when they work fast and look good. I try hard to provide the quality of experience that Apple users rightfully expect, and I’m happy to be supported by excellent designers and challenged by our equally impressive web app.

    Contact

  • Anne Ott

    Anne Ott

    Data Analyst

    +

    Anne Ott

    Data Analyst

    As a Data Analyst, my job is to be a data detective and investigate different data-related hypotheses and questions that arise.

    I create beautiful visuals so that our talented team can make decisions based on facts and not guesses.

    Contact

  • Laur Kelder

    Laur Kelder

    Junior Developer

    +

    Laur Kelder

    Junior Developer

    Passionate about software development, languages, and teaching.

    Contact

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Developer

    +

    Anonymous

    Developer

    Full stack engineer.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Developer

    +

    Anonymous

    Developer

    Android Developer.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Developer

    +

    Anonymous

    Developer

  • Erin Beyer

    Erin Beyer

    Product Manager

    +

    Erin Beyer

    Product Manager

    I joined Lingvist off the back of a user interview.

    I’m now Product Manager, working with a brilliant team of developers and designers and data analysts to acquire new subscribers and also to give users feedback on their performance.

    I used Lingvist to get to a B2 level of German, and now I’m studying Spanish just for fun. I’m a bit of a data geek, my ethos being, “Assumption is the mother of all f*ckups!” (am I allowed to say that?!).

    Contact

  • Mike Ramos

    Mike Ramos

    Lead Product Designer

    +

    Mike Ramos

    Lead Product Designer

    I’m an interaction designer who likes to invent things. I work with a team of amazing people to build the best product experience for our learners.

    Contact

  • Alexander Bosyy

    Alexander Bosyy

    Senior Product Designer

    +

    Alexander Bosyy

    Senior Product Designer

    Samurai of clan Pixel. As they say, “Nine slices would make a cut.” When I’m on a hunt, I aim for precision and silent moves.

    Our clan is famous for Pixel Perfect assets; it is our joy, our tradition, our pride. We spare no mercy for imperfect. At Lingvist, it is possible to conjure many things of various natures, and it’s an honor to serve right next to those who empower others to reach their better selves in shorter times. We do animations as well, by the way – animations are what make the dead living, what makes withered thriving with life.

    Contact

  • Ken Yang

    Ken Yang

    Junior Product Manager and Partner Manager

    +

    Ken Yang

    Junior Product Manager and Partner Manager

    “Be water, my friend.”

    Junior Product Manager, Partner Manager, at times in the form of a Support Specialist. I am available in assorted sizes and shapes.

    Evaporate, if your goal is in the clouds, or crystallize and bring joy to snowboarders. Let Mother Nature or hydraulic engineers take you where you are needed most.

    “Be water, my friend.”

    Contact

  • Aire Kurgpõld

    Aire Kurgpõld

    Senior Quality Engineer

    +

    Aire Kurgpõld

    Senior Quality Engineer

    Aire is world-class at breaking builds!

    She goes to great lengths to uncover bugs, highlight bad UX, or find errors in a feature. Aire is also a nearly world-class tabletennis player and won the last step challenge we had at Lingvist! 🏃‍♀️

    Contact

  • Agne Astel-Rankla

    Agne Astel-Rankla

    Junior Quality Engineer

    +

    Agne Astel-Rankla

    Junior Quality Engineer

    Even though she is new to testing, Agne already knows it’s something she loves. Her natural ability to break applications and web pages helps a lot with the work.

  • Dirk Lloyd

    Dirk Lloyd

    Chief Editor and Localization Manager

    +

    Dirk Lloyd

    Chief Editor and Localization Manager

    I’m passionate about language and culture.

    Contact

  • Ana Sofia Magalhaes

    Ana Sofia Magalhaes

    Language specialist

    +

    Ana Sofia Magalhaes

    Language specialist

    As a language specialist, Ana Sofia creates engaging and juicy content for many Lingvist courses.

    Fascinated by languages, aside from her native Portuguese, she’s also fluent in English, French, and Spanish. To her, teaching languages can also be an art form.

  • Veronica Zäro

    Veronica Zäro

    Growth Marketing Manager

    +

    Veronica Zäro

    Growth Marketing Manager

    Why does it take so long for a PPC marketer to get to work? She can’t help but create all this traffic.

    Contact

  • Sara Viscione

    Sara Viscione

    Designer

    +

    Sara Viscione

    Designer

    A quote that I like: “The chief enemy of creativity is good sense” (Picasso).

    I am passionate about creating designs and helping the wonderful Growth team to find strategies, tactics, and techniques that grow Lingvist’s customer acquisition and revenue generation ratio. I love culture, communication, and technology, and I am fascinated by the relationship between humans and machines. I find data very charming and romantic! In my personal time, I like immersing myself in psychology, poetry, art, meditation, German language learning, nature, as well as business and growth marketing.

    Contact

  • Alejandra Fonseca De Franco

    Alejandra Fonseca De Franco

    Content Manager

    +

    Alejandra Fonseca De Franco

    Content Manager

    “No, it’s Becky.”

    I excel at Spanglish, and have mastered English and French, but I’m struggling with Estonian. I am a strong believer that learning languages opens your world to so many great experiences, which is why for the past 10 years I’ve been stuck working for companies and organizations who revolve around language learning or cultural exchange – I can’t seem to escape from them. If I needed to describe myself in 3 words: No, I won’t; I’m a feminist; I hate soups and spicy food.

    Contact

  • Alex Fan

    Alex Fan

    Customer Support

    +

    Alex Fan

    Customer Support

    I like growing stuff.

  • Akiko Masaki Kadarik

    Akiko Masaki Kadarik

    Support Specialist

    +

    Akiko Masaki Kadarik

    Support Specialist

    I love Estonia!

  • Anete Nõulik

    Anete Nõulik

    Operations Specialist

    +

    Anete Nõulik

    Operations Specialist

    If there’s a fire, I’m the one running to put it out!

    You can mostly find me multi-tasking (or at least trying to) between organizing team events, preparing contracts, onboarding new employees, chasing our CEO to sign some documents, making sure salaries and invoices are paid, booking business trips, etc., or making sure we don’t run out of coffee any time soon.

    All of my personal time I try to divide between traveling, cooking healthy food, and being active and working out. 😊

    Contact

  • Helen Vakker

    Helen Vakker

    Operations Specialist

    +

    Helen Vakker

    Operations Specialist

    Helen is currently on maternity leave, but as a multitasker she balances her time between home and work life excellently.

    As she has an eye for detail, she enjoys working on long documents, whether reading complicated contracts, concentrating on Excels, and for sure she is most talented in the “IT-specific” tasks of our operations team.

    You can find her strolling around, usually accompanied by a stroller, carrying along a cup of coffee and work-oriented thoughts. But she also enjoys those spare moments alone, either reading a good book or restoring old furniture.

    As she was born and raised on a small, magical island, Helen knows the wonders nature does for the brain, so escapes from the city to her country house with family is also in her calendar now and then.

    Contact

  • Mait Müntel

    Mait Müntel

    Founder and CEO

    +

    Mait Müntel

    Founder and Chief Executive Officer

    Mait Müntel is a nuclear physicist and an entrepreneur. He received his PhD in theoretical physics in 2008 from the University of Tartu in Estonia.

    During his studies, he worked as a teacher of physics to secondary school students. Mait also worked at CERN within the CMS experiments division for 9 years and was part of the Higgs boson discovery team in Switzerland in 2012.

    After the particle’s discovery, Mait got the idea to use the same algorithms from particle physics to help people learn new languages 10 times faster. He co-founded Lingvist, which has since grown from a great idea into an amazing team of over 30 people.

    Contact

  • Lisa Ockinga

    Lisa Ockinga

    Head of Product

    +

    Lisa Ockinga

    Head of Product

    As the Head of Product, Lisa ensures that the team builds one coherent product that brings as much value to the user as possible.

    She is able to zoom into minute details while seeing the grand picture at the same time and always has a master plan.

    Lisa spends a good chunk of time talking to users to understand their problems, how they’re getting along with new features, and what’s missing for them. These learnings then directly flow into Lingvist’s product development.

    She loves puns, the mountains, climbing, and a good Primitivo.

    Contact

  • Paweł Mandera

    Paweł Mandera

    Head of Research

    +

    Paweł Mandera

    Head of Research

    Natural Language Processing / Cognitive Science / AI / Data Science

    Contact

  • Kirsika Vaher

    Kirsika Vaher

    Operations Manager

    +

    Kirsika Vaher

    Operations Manager

    Managing Lingvist’s operations and finance, Kirsika ensures all the numbers run correctly in Excel and business operations are in order.

    Kirsika has strong concentration skills, whether there is a need to dig into a long Word document or Excel – something any parent has in order to survive. Lingvist’s operations team is small but powerful, and team effort is the keyword behind any bigger task.

    Family time is also a priority, so you might find her cycling around the neighborhood in Tallinn or staying at her country house and enjoying Estonia’s peaceful nature. Traveling is also a true love, one that she knows to offer excitement at every turn, whether the road leads to hiking or snowboarding, or just wandering around in a new, sometimes already known and visited city in a foreign country.

  • Paweł Mandera

    Paweł Mandera

    Head of Research

    +

    Paweł Mandera

    Head of Research

    Natural Language Processing / Cognitive Science / AI / Data Science

    Contact

  • Fermín Martin

    Fermín Martin

    Scientific Advisor

    +

    Fermín Martin

    Scientific Advisor

    I am a quantitative scientist with 21 years of experience – both in industry and in academia – in creating meaning from complex data in multiple fields (Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, Statistics, Neuroscience, Natural Language Processing, Linguistics, Psychology).

    I have led teams developing cutting-edge technologies in the domains of e-health and e-learning, including technologies such as Empathic AI, Explainable AI, Privacy-Preserving AI, and Natural Language Processing. I have also personally developed and published novel mathematical techniques for data analysis.

    Contact

  • Maria Heitmeier

    Maria Heitmeier

    Cognitive Scientist

    +

    Maria Heitmeier

    Cognitive Scientist

    With my cross-disciplinary knowledge of cognitive science, natural language processing, learning theory, and machine learning, I help provide content and contribute to the science behind Lingvist.

    Contact

  • Lisa Ockinga

    Lisa Ockinga

    Head of Product

    +

    Lisa Ockinga

    Head of Product

    As the Head of Product, Lisa ensures that the team builds one coherent product that brings as much value to the user as possible.

    She is able to zoom into minute details while seeing the grand picture at the same time and always has a master plan.

    Lisa spends a good chunk of time talking to users to understand their problems, how they’re getting along with new features, and what’s missing for them. These learnings then directly flow into Lingvist’s product development.

    She loves puns, the mountains, climbing, and a good Primitivo.

    Contact

  • Erin Beyer

    Erin Beyer

    Product Manager

    +

    Erin Beyer

    Product Manager

    I joined Lingvist off the back of a user interview.

    I’m now Product Manager, working with a brilliant team of developers and designers and data analysts to acquire new subscribers and also to give users feedback on their performance.

    I used Lingvist to get to a B2 level of German, and now I’m studying Spanish just for fun. I’m a bit of a data geek, my ethos being, “Assumption is the mother of all f*ckups!” (am I allowed to say that?!).

    Contact

  • Mike Ramos

    Mike Ramos

    Lead Product Designer

    +

    Mike Ramos

    Lead Product Designer

    I’m an interaction designer who likes to invent things. I work with a team of amazing people to build the best product experience for our learners.

    Contact

  • Alexander Bosyy

    Alexander Bosyy

    Senior Product Designer

    +

    Alexander Bosyy

    Senior Product Designer

    Samurai of clan Pixel. As they say, “Nine slices would make a cut.” When I’m on a hunt, I aim for precision and silent moves.

    Our clan is famous for Pixel Perfect assets; it is our joy, our tradition, our pride. We spare no mercy for imperfect. At Lingvist, it is possible to conjure many things of various natures, and it’s an honor to serve right next to those who empower others to reach their better selves in shorter times. We do animations as well, by the way – animations are what make the dead living, what makes withered thriving with life.

    Contact

  • Ken Yang

    Ken Yang

    Junior Product Manager and Partner Manager

    +

    Ken Yang

    Junior Product Manager and Partner Manager

    “Be water, my friend.”

    Junior Product Manager, Partner Manager, at times in the form of a Support Specialist. I am available in assorted sizes and shapes.

    Evaporate, if your goal is in the clouds, or crystallize and bring joy to snowboarders. Let Mother Nature or hydraulic engineers take you where you are needed most.

    “Be water, my friend.”

    Contact

  • Aire Kurgpõld

    Aire Kurgpõld

    Senior Quality Engineer

    +

    Aire Kurgpõld

    Senior Quality Engineer

    Aire is world-class at breaking builds!

    She goes to great lengths to uncover bugs, highlight bad UX, or find errors in a feature. Aire is also a nearly world-class tabletennis player and won the last step challenge we had at Lingvist! 🏃‍♀️

    Contact

  • Agne Astel-Rankla

    Agne Astel-Rankla

    Junior Quality Engineer

    +

    Agne Astel-Rankla

    Junior Quality Engineer

    Even though she is new to testing, Agne already knows it’s something she loves. Her natural ability to break applications and web pages helps a lot with the work.

  • Dirk Lloyd

    Dirk Lloyd

    Chief Editor and Localization Manager

    +

    Dirk Lloyd

    Chief Editor and Localization Manager

    I’m passionate about language and culture.

    Contact

  • Ana Sofia Magalhaes

    Ana Sofia Magalhaes

    Language specialist

    +

    Ana Sofia Magalhaes

    Language specialist

    As a language specialist, Ana Sofia creates engaging and juicy content for many Lingvist courses.

    Fascinated by languages, aside from her native Portuguese, she’s also fluent in English, French, and Spanish. To her, teaching languages can also be an art form.

  • Veronica Zäro

    Veronica Zäro

    Growth Marketing Manager

    +

    Veronica Zäro

    Growth Marketing Manager

    Why does it take so long for a PPC marketer to get to work? She can’t help but create all this traffic.

    Contact

  • Sara Viscione

    Sara Viscione

    Designer

    +

    Sara Viscione

    Designer

    A quote that I like: “The chief enemy of creativity is good sense” (Picasso).

    I am passionate about creating designs and helping the wonderful Growth team to find strategies, tactics, and techniques that grow Lingvist’s customer acquisition and revenue generation ratio. I love culture, communication, and technology, and I am fascinated by the relationship between humans and machines. I find data very charming and romantic! In my personal time, I like immersing myself in psychology, poetry, art, meditation, German language learning, nature, as well as business and growth marketing.

    Contact

  • Alejandra Fonseca De Franco

    Alejandra Fonseca De Franco

    Content Manager

    +

    Alejandra Fonseca De Franco

    Content Manager

    “No, it’s Becky.”

    I excel at Spanglish, and have mastered English and French, but I’m struggling with Estonian. I am a strong believer that learning languages opens your world to so many great experiences, which is why for the past 10 years I’ve been stuck working for companies and organizations who revolve around language learning or cultural exchange – I can’t seem to escape from them. If I needed to describe myself in 3 words: No, I won’t; I’m a feminist; I hate soups and spicy food.

    Contact

  • Alex Fan

    Alex Fan

    Customer Support

    +

    Alex Fan

    Customer Support

    I like growing stuff.

  • Akiko Masaki Kadarik

    Akiko Masaki Kadarik

    Support Specialist

    +

    Akiko Masaki Kadarik

    Support Specialist

    I love Estonia!

  • Kirsika Vaher

    Kirsika Vaher

    Operations Manager

    +

    Kirsika Vaher

    Operations Manager

    Managing Lingvist’s operations and finance, Kirsika ensures all the numbers run correctly in Excel and business operations are in order.

    Kirsika has strong concentration skills, whether there is a need to dig into long a Word document or Excel – something any parent has in order to survive. Lingvist’s operations team is small but powerful, and team effort is the keyword behind any bigger task.

    Family time is also a priority, so you might find her cycling around the neighborhood in Tallinn or staying at her country house and enjoying Estonia’s peaceful nature. Traveling is also a true love, one that she knows to offer excitement at every turn, whether the road leads to hiking or snowboarding, or just wandering around in a new, sometimes already known and visited city in a foreign country.

  • Anete Nõulik

    Anete Nõulik

    Operations Specialist

    +

    Anete Nõulik

    Operations Specialist

    If there’s a fire, I’m the one running to put it out!

    You can mostly find me multi-tasking (or at least trying to) between organizing team events, preparing contracts, onboarding new employees, chasing our CEO to sign some documents, making sure salaries and invoices are paid, booking business trips, etc., or making sure we don’t run out of coffee any time soon.

    All of my personal time I try to divide between traveling, cooking healthy food, and being active and working out. 😊

    Contact

  • Helen Vakker

    Helen Vakker

    Operations Specialist

    +

    Helen Vakker

    Operations Specialist

    Helen is currently on maternity leave, but as a multitasker she balances her time between home and work life excellently.

    As she has an eye for detail, she enjoys working on long documents, whether reading complicated contracts, concentrating on Excels, and for sure she is most talented in the “IT-specific” tasks of our operations team.

    You can find her strolling around, usually accompanied by a stroller, carrying along a cup of coffee and work-oriented thoughts. But she also enjoys those spare moments alone, either reading a good book or restoring old furniture.

    As she was born and raised on a small, magical island, Helen knows the wonders nature does for the brain, so escapes from the city to her country house with family is also in her calendar now and then.

    Contact

Awards

HolonIQ 2021

2021-2020

Lingvist was selected by HolonIQ as one of the top 50 EdTech companies in the Nordic-Baltic eight (NB8) region.

EdTechDigest Finalist

2020

Finalist for The EdTech Digest Cool Tool award, language learning solution.

2019

Lingvist ranked #1 for TOEIC prep and “The EIKEN Test in Practical English Proficiency” in Japan

2019

Tech Edvocate Awards, Best Language Learning App or Tool

2017

EdTechXGlobal, All Stars Rise Award Winner

2015

Tallinn Entrepreneurship Awards, Brightest Startup

HolonIQ 2021

2021-2020

Lingvist was selected by HolonIQ as one of the top 50 EdTech companies in the Nordic-Baltic eight (NB8) region.

EdTechDigest Finalist

2020

Finalist for The EdTech Digest Cool Tool award, language learning solution.

2019

Lingvist ranked #1 for TOEIC prep and “The EIKEN Test in Practical English Proficiency” in Japan

2019

Tech Edvocate Awards, Best Language Learning App or Tool

2017

EdTechXGlobal, All Stars Rise Award Winner

2015

Tallinn Entrepreneurship Awards, Brightest Startup

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