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CultureAlley raises $6.5M from Tiger Global, 500 Startups & KAE


CultureAlley, a language learning platform, has raised $6.15 million in a series A round of funding from Tiger Global Management and participation from 500 Startups and KAE Capital, reports The Tech Portal. The company had previously raised seed funding from individual investors including KAE Capital founder Sasha Mirchandani, Google’s Rajan Anandan and Sunil Kalra.

As of now, CultureAlley provides lessons for English, Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi and Punjabi. For English, the platform provides an app called Hello English, which it claims helps learn read, write and speak the language and pick up vocabulary. The app itself is available in 12 vernacular languages to learn English from, namely Hindi, Urdu, Bangladeshi Bengali, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Malayalam, Punjabi, Gujarati and Oriya.

The app provides users with 200 lessons in grammar and conversations, along with reading, speaking, listening and writing exercises. It follows an interesting progression model where users can win coins in each lesson to unlock advanced lessons, a tactic similar to the one adopted by Duolingo. Other than this, the app claims to document 10,000 english words with pronunciation, offer practice games and chat with tutors. Hello English, which was released in October 2014, also works offline.

For Spanish, Mandarin, Punjabi and Hindi, the platform offers content on its website, with topics like introductions, greetings and pleasantries in the language, to talking about family, occupation and pets. Most of the lessons offered focus on speaking and understanding conversational language, rather than on grammar, which is useful if users need to pick up a language quickly for speaking with locals etc.

Other than this, the platform also offers Spanish and Chinese iOS apps, as well as Skype lessons from a native teacher. The courses offered over Skype include Spanish, Korean, Hindi, Punjabi and Mandarin. The company claims these courses are provided on a 1 on 1 basis for $10-$20 per hour, during mutually convenient time slots.

Duolingo funding: Last month, language learning platform Duolingo raised funding worth $45 million led by Google Capital and some existing investors. The company had previously raised Series A funding worth $3.3 million led by Union Square Ventures in 2011, Series B funding worth $15 million led by NEA in 2012 and Series C funding worth $20 million led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2014. Interestingly, in April last year, Duolingo had added support for Hindi, to help Indians who didn’t know English to learn foreign languages.

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