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Speak Raises $20M, Doubling Its Valuation to $500M

Language learning app Speak expands globally with new funding and innovative features
June 21, 2024

Speak, an AI-driven language learning platform, is making waves in the edtech sector.

Since its debut in South Korea in 2019, Speak has rapidly scaled, amassing over 10 million users worldwide, according to CEO and co-founder Connor Zwick. The app's user base has consistently doubled each year over the past five years, now extending its reach to over 40 countries.

This impressive growth has caught the eye of investors, leading to a fresh influx of capital aimed at fueling further expansion.

This week, Speak secured a $20 million Series B extension, spearheaded by Buckley Ventures. Other notable contributors include the OpenAI Startup Fund, Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham, and LinkedIn's executive chairman, Jeff Weiner. This latest funding round elevates Speak's total investment to $84 million and propels its valuation to a remarkable $500 million.

Speak was founded in 2014 by Zwick and Andrew Hsu, both alumni of the prestigious Thiel Fellowship. The app distinguishes itself by focusing on conversational practice and repetition, steering clear of traditional vocabulary and grammar memorization. This approach sets it apart from competitors like Duolingo, particularly in its strong emphasis on verbal skills.

“Our philosophy revolves around encouraging users to practice speaking out loud as much as possible,” Zwick explained. “Achieving fluency fosters cultural connections and economic opportunities. Speaking remains the crucial yet historically under-supported component of language learning in technology.”

Initially launched with English, Speak has since introduced Spanish lessons, leveraging a proprietary speech recognition model. French is slated to be the next addition, though Zwick did not specify a launch date.

Speak offers a subscription model, charging $20 monthly or $99 annually for full access, including review materials and specialized courses.

With a diverse team of 75 employees spread across offices in San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo, and Ljubljana, Speak is focused on developing advanced models to provide real-time feedback on tone and pronunciation.

Speak's innovative approach and robust expansion strategy highlight its potential to reshape language learning on a global scale. The recent funding boost underscores the confidence investors have in Speak's mission and growth trajectory, setting the stage for even greater advancements in the future.

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