A new online language acquisition service Verbling announced a $1 million funding Thursday, from investors DFJ, Learn Capital, Start Fund, Inspovation Ventures, SV Angel, Meck Investments, Ace & Company among others.
Verbling works by connecting users online, so that they can help with learning foreign languages. Let's say, a person whose first language is English wants to learn Spanish. Verbling connects this user with someone whose first language is Spanish, but who wants to learn English, and allows them to interact via video-chat. Users are matched with other users based on their respective language level.
And if you're worried about getting paired up with an Internet creep, the company has indicated that all users have to give detailed registration data to use the site, so any untoward behavior can be easily reported, which they are betting will keep the creeps at bay.
As of now, the site only offers Spanish/English conversations, though the company has already indicated that it has experienced user demand for more languages to be included in their service. "Since we opened up signups for the 10 most commonly studied languages in the US, we have seen explosive demand for other combinations."
The representative from Verbling indicated to VatorNews that the new funding would be used for hiring, and that the company had already brought on some new programmers. One of the new initiatives undertaken by these newly hired programmers has been a feature called "Verbling Flashcards," which helps language learning beginners.
"74% of our visitors have used Flashcards in between conversations since we deployed a few days ago," said the Verbling rep. "To date, the bulk of our users have been at the intermediate and advanced stages. But with Flashcards we are seeing that Verbling is attracting a whole new crowd: beginners."
The company also indicated that several universities across the US have already started assigning Verbling as homework in language learning classes.
And what will this service cost you? "Verbling is entirely free at this stage," said the company rep. "In the future, we will create a premium version that users can pay for." We'll take that to mean that the company's services are fairly simple at this point, but that as services become more tiered, so will the corresponding payment plans.