Technology

AI-powered language learning startup Memrise raises $15.5m Series B round

Memrise, a language learning app powered by machine learning, has closed a $15.5m (£11.5m) series B funding round, led by Octopus Ventures and Korelya Capital.

Additional participation came from existing investors Avalon Ventures and Balderton Capital, which was recently listed as one of the top 10 unicorn-making funds in Europe. Its valuation is still under wraps, but todays news takes its total amount raised to a cool $22m.

Already profitable and based in London with a team of 70, Memrise claims more than 35m users worldwide across its courses which span 22 languages.

It was recently put on stage at last weeks Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in a highlight reel on machine learning, and won Google Plays app of the year in 2017.

Read more: iOS 12, Universal Apps and AirPower: What to expect from Apples WWDC 2018

“Memrise is an accessible platform for all people to learn languages, and at the heart of our vision is creating learning experiences that meaningfully connect people to the world,” said co-founder and CEO Ed Cooke.

Unique learning experiences are so central to its mission, in fact, that Memrise launched a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2015 to fund its Membus initiative, a double-decker bus that travelled across Europe and asked native speakers to film short video clips for an in-app video dictionary.

“Were a technology company actively working to improve human consciousness, and to foster authentic engagement across communities,” Cooke continued.

“We care about self-improvement and empowerment, and were determined to use technology to make learning, which we believe depends most fundamentally on meaningful connection with the world, richer and more engaging for tens of millions of people.”

Read more: The UK has been crowned the tech unicorn capital of Europe

Memrise will soon be moving to a new location in London from its Eastern office, after outgrowing its current spot as the worlds second most popular language app, based on user numbers.

But Cooke told City A.M. that he and his team plan to stay put in Spitalfields, where Memrise has built its roots.

The truth of the matter is a lot of startups have been priced out.

But imaginative, culturally broad, and intellectually engaged people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s prefer the vibrancy of East London to other areas of town, and there is enormous value in tech clusters because they make things more efficient for us.

Memrise plans to use todays funding to expand into three major areas, including providing a big boost in media production to its video dictionary. Other sectors that will receive some attention include product development, as well as some paid digital marketing, of which the app has done very little to date.

“Weve grown to 35m users with hardly any paid marketing, and we have a highly productive team,” Cooke continued.

“This latest funding gives us the opportunity to grow, and professionalise the business.”

Original Article

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