With more than 13,500 users, and almost €1 million in transactions between language learners, vetted hosts and teachers since 2016, the UK-based business hopes to expand to new markets with an injection of £200,000, which it is seeking to raise by crowdfunding.
“The big sending and learning market opportunities that are more straightforward for us to enter are Brazil and Russia”
“The first step will be to spread the Lingoo model to North America and Australia – the English “receiving” markets, where Lingoo currently has a much smaller footprint than the UK and Ireland,” said Peter Goldstein, director of Lingoo.
“This will enable us to scale up the English homestay and teaching side of our offer.”
According to Lingoo, language travel is worth more than US$11bn a year, and learners are “frustrated by rigid, expensive offers” from language travel agents and schools. Only 0.25% of language learners take a language school course abroad, the company says.
The platform offers language learners the option to stay with host families, who provide day to day language training and cultural immersion, or qualified and experienced homestay teachers. With the funding, Lingoo hopes to make it easier for users to join.
Currently available in six languages – English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese – Lingoo’s logic is that adding a new language will open a new market, Goldstein added.
“The big sending and learning market opportunities that are more straightforward for us to enter are Brazil and Russia. Longer term the goal is to enter the Asian markets and have local language versions in China (Mandarin and Cantonese) Japan and South Korea,” he explained.
“Asian markets might start as predominantly sending markets but we believe they will also become receiving markets in the future.”
To date Lingoo has already raised nearly £45,000 of its overall target of £200,000.
“[Crowdfunding] is a completely modern way of raising money through relatively small investments and being able to return something to your crowd as the business becomes more successful,” Goldstein added.