Ginger Software bags $5.4M to build better ESL tools

Krystal Peak · August 22, 2012 · Short URL:

Ginger is using tech similar to Siri to help cross the language divide, limit embarrassing mistakes

The English language can be a daunting and tricky thing for non-native speakers to master. We have rules that are usually broken, slang that makes no sense and some languages gems like homophones and homonyms.  Ginger Software, a developer of speech technology is hoping to take the technology that we use for things like personal assistants and transcription to help ESL individuals in their everyday lives.

Ginger Software just announced a new round of funding to the tune of $5.4 million on Wednesday. An over whelming $5 million of this new round came from Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures and Harbor Pacific Capital. This round of funding is also coming very soon -- six months -- after the snagged a round of $6.3 million. This puts the software company in a capital rich stage near $21 million.

Founded in 2007, Ginger has already built and released some tools for the ESL community, such as a type-based proofreader, grammar and spelling checker as wells as a text-to-speech service. I tested the proofreader with a language fumble I have heard several times -- I typed "I half a question" and the proofreader corrected me to say "I have a question."

Marketed as the “embarrassments avoided” tool, this proofreader was fast and accurate and has apparently been used more than 922 million times.

The round of funding just announced is an extension of the earlier Series D round that included the $6.3 million and is focused on developing more products. In tandem with the capital influx, Frank Meehan from Horizons becomes a board member for the company. 

While getting assistance at your desktop would be a helpful thing for a non-native English speaker, the real tool will be when Ginger gets into the mobile environment (expected by the end of the year) and allows people to use the text and speech functions to improve their communication.

Currently, the company products operates as an online service and supports MS-Word, MS-Outlook, MS-PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. 

Ginger Software says that its tools also have the potential to eliminate up to 95% of writing errors common to people with dyslexia. 

Developed by a team of natural language–processing experts, statisticians, language specialists, software engineers, educators, and other professionals with vast experience in bringing revolutionary tech products to market, Ginger Software has already built a fairly global company with offices in Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom.


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