In June 2015, Lingvist began offering English and French courses. In 2015, the platform’s user interface was available in Estonian and English. On 12 September 2016, Spanish and Russian trial versions were launched.
Lingvist is an Estonian company developing innovative language-learning technology that grew out of an idea by Mait Müntel, PhD in Physics. When Müntel had to learn French while working at CERN in Switzerland, he soon realised how impractical and ineffective traditional language-learning textbooks are. He decided to try a mathematics-based approach to language-learning and developed a prototype that helped him learn French in only 200 hours.
In 2015, Lingvist received one million euros in funding from Jaan Tallinn, SmartCap, and other investors. Now, collaboration with Rakuten has taken the company to the next level and into new markets.
In spring 2016, Lingvist announced that it had received a series A investment of 8 million dollars or more than 7.4 million euros in additional funding. The investment is led by Rakuten, followed by SmartCap, an investment company under the Estonian Development Fund; other investors include Finnish venture capital fund Inventure and founders of Skype Jaan Tallinn and Geoffrey Prentice.
Although there is a lot of work to be done at Rakuten and in Japan, Lingvist is not planning to disappear into Asia. Currently, the company intends to hire more people, primarily at its headquarters in Tallinn. “We are competing on the local job market with highly successful enterprises, such as Transferwise, Skype, and Twilio,” notes Carey.