A language app pioneered by Vietnamese American entrepreneur Vu Van is exploding in popularity worldwide during the pandemic.
The app ELSA has seen its user base quadruple due to the growing reliance on tech-based learning during the pandemic, according to CNBC Make It.
Tech Crunch reports in 2019 that after earning a $7 million investment from Google, Van had raised more than $12 million for her app.
According to Express Computer, ELSA uses speech recognition technology to grade users’ speaking and helps English learners improve their pronunciation. Aspiring to encourage users to speak more confidently, Van learned from personal experience after becoming fluent in English that “non-native” pronunciation and accent often hinder personal, social, and workplace success. Luckily, the Stanford graduate’s vision to further help millions of language learners worldwide has been shared by tech giants like Google.
CNBC reports that the financial boost from Google came “just months before the coronavirus pandemic overturned education and supercharged the growth of online tools.” According to CNBC, Van says the app’s growth since then is from “typical users” as well as schools and businesses “adapting to new ways of teaching.”
Tech Crunch reports that users have full access to “over 1,000 courses for [$3 to $6] per month, depending on their package.” ELSA has also partnered with schools and businesses throughout Asia, Europe, and South America, says CNBC.
“Covid really opened up a segment that is new for us,” Van shares with CNBC. “There’s a paradigm shift among parents that there’s a different way of learning. Instead of always having to send their kids to a language learning center or a school, they can rely on technology. We ride on the benefit of that.”
As the pandemic continues, Van tells CNBC that future plans for the app include an even wider user base as ELSA is introduced into new markets beyond the United States, Vietnam, India, and Japan. “Further fundraising will be on the horizon soon,” she says. “2020 has been a crazy year, but I think we have done well and we’re excited for what’s in store for 2021.”
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story.