ELSA, an American english-language learning app, has raised a US$7 million Series A led by Gradiant Ventures. The Asia connection is that it is a portfolio company of both Monk’s Hill, from Singapore, and SOSV, which has a strong network in China and Taiwan.

Gradiant Ventures is the AI-focussed fund from Google.

ELSA stands for English Language Speech Assistant and the product works by using artificial intelligence to detect people’s pronunciation errors. It claims to have a success rate of over 95 per cent. ELSA listens to people pronouncing english words and then responds with hyper specific corrections based on their mistakes.

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The money is going to be used to scale the product and grow in markets like Japan, Indonesia and India. Interestingly, Vietnam is ELSA’s fastest growing market and it saw a 4X YoY growth between 2017 and 2018.

Vietnam was also the testbed for a teacher-focussed educational programme that it plans to expand globally in the future.

The company also plans to launch a social feature at the end of this year and continue to build out its AI capabilities (including updates in rhythm intonations).

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ELSA was founded in 2015 and has raised US$12 million to date.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash