A Letter from Lingvist co-founder Mait

by Mait Müntel | | 2 November 2017

I founded Lingvist based on the idea that we could learn languages 10 times faster than we currently do. I thought that if we could achieve this breakthrough in learning, we’d bring something truly valuable into the world and enable a huge number of people to learn a new skill.

I set aside my career as a particle physicist at CERN to make this happen. I brought with me some novel ideas which had worked for me in learning French, gathered the best team I could find from all over the world, and together we set out to create a better, faster way to learn languages.

It’s taken far longer – four years already – and required a lot more work than I ever could have imagined. We haven’t hit our goal of “10 times faster” yet, but I am excited to share that Lingvist has already helped over 1 million people grow their language skills.

I believe this is just the beginning.

We’re passionate about improving how people learn and are continuously gathering statistics on how quickly and for how long people learn, as well as how often they come back to practice. We’re discovering incredible things about learning and incorporating these discoveries into the product to put you in control of your progress and help you advance faster.

Our drive to improve language learning is not going to change.

What we do need to do, though, is to make sure we can continue on our mission for a long time to come. That’s why we’re announcing two tiers to Lingvist: Lingvist Free and a subscription-based Lingvist Unlimited.

So many of you have reached out to ask how you can support us, and we’re grateful that what we’re doing means that much to you. We believe that we’ll be able to maintain a free version of Lingvist which will support most of our learners’ daily needs while also providing a set of premium features that a significant number of people will find valuable enough to pay for on a subscription basis.

I hope that all of you who have expressed your desire to support us are excited that not only will you soon be able to, but that we’re also rolling out a number of important improvements before we ask for that support.

To all of our learners, we’re happy to announce a recent addition you may have already noticed:

There’s a new home screen on our iOS and Android apps that gathers all your progress, daily goals, and learning in one place as a snapshot of what you’ve achieved and what you’ll be learning.

In terms of premium features, learners will enjoy:

Challenges – An area with exercises, as well as reading and listening content from partner publishers (coming soon)

Specialized courses – Courses geared toward specific interests, such as travel, technology, politics, and more (coming soon)

Speaking – Giving your answers by speaking them, letting you learn more cards, more naturally, while putting your pronunciation into practice

Your vocabulary – Access to the list of all the words you’ve practiced and stats on your interaction with them

These premium features will be available for free to all Lingvist learners until the end of the year so you can see what they’re all about. Starting in 2018, these features, along with more upcoming ones, will be available as part of the Lingvist Unlimited subscription if you’d like to continue using them.

For those of you who can’t take advantage of Lingvist Unlimited, be assured that we’re using all our data to support efficient learning in the free version. It may be a little bit different from how you use Lingvist now, but we’re committed to making the best language learning tool possible for our entire community.

We know that we need to grow into a sustainable business if we’re going to be there to support your learning in the long run. We also need to grow enough to bring you a better learning experience, one that’s “ten times faster.” Breakthroughs from our machine learning and other AI algorithms won’t come without lots of people learning, however, so each learner is important in making Lingvist more effective.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. I can’t express enough gratitude for all the support that’s gotten us here, and I hope we can continue to be part of your personal development for years to come.

Happy learning!