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With new funding, language learning app Elsa is bound for Latin America

Written by Ursula Florene Published on 

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The company has raised USD 25.3 million so far.

Elsa, the learning platform founded by Vietnamese entrepreneur Vu Van, just announced that it raised USD 15 million in its Series B round to further extend its business into Latin America. “We are planning to expand our B2B offerings to all other major regions around the world given the significant inbound interest that we have received in 2020,” Van told KrASIA.

Last year, Elsa’s B2B channel was growing more than tenfold and the company’s almost tripled its revenue. It established partnerships in the core markets Vietnam and India, becoming part of school curriculums and corporate training benefits.

“One game-changing new channel for Elsa is working with publishers,” Van said. “We will soon announce partnerships with major publishers in the English language space and embed book series into the Elsa app.” Elsa’s artificial intelligence will allow learners to engage with textbooks and receive guidance from the app’s AI coach.

This year, Elsa is preparing a series of new features such as a live chat room to encourage interactions between users and video features via the conference platform Zoom. “Now our learners can practice engaging in stimulating Zoom calls with native speakers through Elsa,” she said. “Given how Zoom calls and video conversations have become more important in our daily work and lives, Elsa wants our learners to be prepared for these calls, so they can show up confident whether that’s for a job interview, a meeting, or just a social conversation.”

Latin America is for Elsa a fast growing English learning market sized at an estimated USD 3 billion. To penetrate it, the company plans to link up with distribution partners, such as schools and language centers.

Elsa was founded in 2015 as a tool to improve the English pronunciation of its users. Its AI is trained using voice data of people speaking English in various accents, enabling it to detect mistakes with more than 95% accuracy. Aside from spotting errors, Elsa also provides suggestions on how to move tongues and lips to obtain the correct pronunciation.

The company, with now over 13 million users across the globe, is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in Portugal, India, and Vietnam. Vietnam Investments Group and SIG co-led the latest funding round, in which previous investors SOSV, Monk’s Hill, and Google’s Gradient Ventures also participated. In February 2019, Elsa bagged USD 7 million in its Series A, adding up to a total of USD 25.3 million, according to Crunchbase.

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