[Radar #EdTech] Speekoo, the app for learning languages while traveling
Alexis Collomb was one of Etienne Genvrin’s teachers, who then introduced him to the product he was developing in parallel with his studies. Alexis was won over by the product. They embarked on the entrepreneurial adventure with Speekoo, a language learning platform based on an innovative linguistic approach coupled with cultural immersion.
More details with Etienne Genvrin, co-founder of Speekoo:
FrenchWeb: What needs does your service meet?
We solve three problems: the accessibility problem (we make even the most complicated languages accessible to everyone), the persistence problem (we teach the language in such a way that learning is not short-termist) and the problem speed (we teach languages much faster).
The need ? Today, it is customary to say that the French are zero in languages and that there is de facto a very strong need to change our learning methods. We can very well become the European champions of the languages of tomorrow. We are convinced of it.
What is your value proposition?
Speekoo is above all an innovative language learning solution, which is based on a constructive approach where each knowledge helps to better understand the next. But it is also a completely new way of learning languages which do not use our alphabet such as Chinese, Japanese, Russian or Arabic. Everything at an unprecedented speed and integrated into a product with an immersive and gamified design that gives the learner the curiosity and the motivation to always go further.
Who are the users of your solutions?
Today, we have nearly 30,000 registered users on our platform. What are they looking for? Above all a method different from what exists on the market, a less academic and more efficient method, which does not require so much effort and which allows them to learn without necessarily having solid prior knowledge or an extraordinary memory. Some also seek the exotic and very much appreciate the fact that we offer languages as diverse as Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Greek or Arabic.
Uses ? Most of the users are on smartphones. They take advantage of their daily commutes or their short breaks. The average duration of a session is 8 minutes which corresponds to 1 or 2 lessons for the fastest. This is what we wanted by offering very short lessons (around 4 – 5 minutes)
What is your development plan?
Today the solution is completely free but in the coming weeks we intend to make it payable from a certain level. We also plan to add content on the languages we already have to offer the most complete learning possible and to be able to monetize our know-how as best as possible.
Regarding growth, we are targeting 100,000 users by the end of July, relying mainly on the travel theme before the summer and the World Cup in Russia (we are the only ones to offer Russian). Internationalization is planned for the start of the school year, we are already in the middle of it with the development of the platform in English.
What are your challenges?
Our main challenge today is user growth. We have a product that is very differentiating and we have to capitalize on it as much as possible. The fact that we will soon switch to the English version is not trivial, the French market is small in comparison with the English-speaking market, and the demand on the latter is gargantuan. Our income will be directly proportional to the number of users we will be able to reach. From a financial point of view, we are looking for funds at the end of June to accelerate our acquisition and expand our internal team.
Who are your competitors?
Our competitors are mainly Babbel, the German that everyone knows, and Duolingo, the American which is world leader but which is not yet well known in France. There are of course many others, but they are much less known.
What sets us apart from them: three things, our linguistic approach (much less academic, and much more efficient), our simplification of rare languages (Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Arabic and Greek), our immersive and gamified design that invites journey and which takes the learner through cities and countries to which he will soon be able to go!
Who is the entrepreneur who inspires you? Why?
Elon Musk, for his hard work. I have always been passionate about people who were able to work tirelessly and accomplish great things through the force of their work. He is a highly intelligent person who is deeply passionate about his work. I can only be admiring that.
The 5 applications that are essential for you and why:
Google Keep: to take notes when I think of something on the street or in the subway. I must have a thousand notes now!
Google Play Console: to have live opinions of people who rate Speekoo on the playstore and to have metrics on downloads and retention. I have to open the app 10 times a day at least!
Slack: we don’t present it any more of course… You have to stay connected with your H24 team, right?
LinkedIn: I use LinkedIn a lot, I must admit, I really enjoy writing articles on the linguistic methodology that we have developed and meeting other people passionate about languages like me!
Speekoo: of course I always have to refresh my language skills to keep in mind the 10 languages that I try to be able to speak at the same time!
The 5 tech events you absolutely must attend and why:
The Maddykeynote: It’s been two years since I participate and I find the event very interesting. I have had the opportunity to meet many people over the past two years with whom I have been able to go much further.
The CES: Still too big for us, mainly because we don’t offer an international version yet, we seriously intend to go there in the next few years. Failing to be there, we are following it with great interest, especially for immersive technologies such as VR which will revolutionize learning in the coming years.
The Lisbon websummit: This year we will most likely be there, it is an excellent way for us to talk about our international version on a European scale. Much more affordable and closer to us than CES, we have followed the last few years with interest.
Viva Technology: the biggest tech event in France, we no longer present it. We went there last year but we didn’t have a stand. A little too tech for now for what we have created, but when we do VR or a chatbot with AI, we will seriously think about it …
The polyglot conference: so yes it’s not an event entirely geared towards tech, but we often talk about technologies that risk changing our ways of learning. And it’s a great way for us to benchmark what is being done in language learning.
A start-up for us to discover?
A great start-up that works right next to us, Panda Guide, they are working on an audio augmented reality headset to help the blind find their way. They have already won a lot of prizes, have a great team and a great project!
- Founders: Alexis Collomb and Etienne Genvrin
- Creation date : December 2015
- Fundraising : We have raised 250,000 euros since the start of the adventure. The investors are mainly financiers who come from private equity.
- Seat : Paris 8th