AI Language Learning App Speak Surges Globally, Hits 10 Million Users

AI Language Learning App Speak Surges Globally, Hits 10 Million Users

By Staff Writer, 20 June 2024

AI-driven language learning app Speak has rapidly ascended since its debut in South Korea in 2019, now boasting a user base exceeding 10 million globally. CEO and co-founder Connor Zwick disclosed to TechCrunch that the app's popularity has doubled annually for the past five years, expanding its reach to over 40 countries.

Fueling its ambitious growth trajectory, Speak secured a significant funding boost this week. The company closed a $20 million Series B extension led by Buckley Ventures, with contributions from the OpenAI Startup Fund, Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham, and LinkedIn executive chairman Jeff Weiner. This latest investment elevates Speak's total funding to $84 million and doubles its valuation to $500 million.

Founded in 2014 by Zwick and Andrew Hsu, Speak distinguishes itself by focusing on spoken language acquisition rather than rote memorization. Similar to Duolingo, Speak employs generative AI features but places greater emphasis on practicing speaking patterns through structured lessons. Zwick emphasized that speaking fluency fosters meaningful connections and economic opportunities, a pivotal aspect often neglected in traditional language learning tools.

Initially launched with English lessons, Speak has since added Spanish, utilizing a proprietary speech recognition model trained on internal data. Plans are underway to introduce French lessons in the near future, although specifics on the timeline were not disclosed.

Speak monetizes through a subscription model, offering full access to its features, including review materials and specialized courses, for $20 per month or $99 annually. This approach has proven successful in sustaining its rapid growth and innovation in the competitive language learning sector.

Source: Kyle Wiggers / TechCrunch

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