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Edtech: Language Confidence raises US$1.5m

Australian-based edtech Language Confidence has announced the “successful” closure of a US$1.5 million seed round.

Language Confidence also provides a white-labeled automated English test for mock high-stake, placement and diagnostic testing. Photo: Language Confidence

The startup plans to use the funding to introduce automation to the teaching and testing of spoken English.

The startup, which was co-founded in 2018 by Nicholas Jenkins, plans to use the funding to introduce automation to the teaching and testing of spoken English.

“There are 1.4 billion people spending $60 billion trying to learn English, and there simply aren’t enough teachers to go around,” Jenkins said on the announcement.

“I wanted to automate and scale what I was doing as a real human teacher with a focus on speaking,” he added.

The automation comes in the form of a plugin, which will “listen” to students and assess their spoken English as they go, correcting it if necessary with “visual feedback”.

The target customer is B2B and corporate English students, and has already attracted users from the applications sphere and learning-assistance markets – the high stakes test preparation market has also reportedly shown interest.

“I wanted to automate and scale what I was doing as a real human teacher with a focus on speaking”

The funding was provided by various Australian and Southeast Asian partners – Singapore-based Wavemaker Partners was at the helm, and also participating was early-stage investment group Investible which has offices in Sydney.

“We’ve come a long way since our pre-seed round of AUS$500k ran out and we managed to keep the company alive on credit cards until we had our first real, paying customer late in 2019,” Jenkins explained.

Language Confidence also offers an English test that is completely automated as a “white-labelled platform” that can be used in various situations, including online, placement and government testing.

“Despite an ever-growing demand for English speakers, affordable, quality English education remains unreachable for most,” said Wavemaker Partners general partner Eric Manlunas.

“Language Confidence has built the best-in-class API-based product that’s loved by stakeholders across the board, from traditional universities to global edtech players,” he added.

“We offer our API on a per-student or per-usage basis, and our test at a per-test fee. We’re very excited about what the future holds, considering the customers we’ve secured and the interest we’re seeing in our technology,” Jenkins added.

The company’s own other co-founder, Swahn Fraye, who also acts as CTO, attests to the power of “learning English” after doing it himself, leaving software company Atlassian to take up the role.

Nick and Swahn developed a “robust and scalable product seeking to solve a mammoth global problem in a low-cost manner, assisting millions to learn English (first) and other languages (next)”, added Daniel Veytsbli, Investible’s investment director.

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