Estonian language learning platform Lingvist attracts USD8 million investment

Lingvist, an Estonian startup that aims to teach a new language in 200 hours, has announced an investment of USD8 million, led by the global internet services company, Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten will invest alongside existing investors Smartcap, Inventure and Skype’s co­founder Jaan Tallinn. The financing will be used to fund the company’s growth in Europe, Asia and the Middle East and for further investment in its proprietary adaptive language learning algorithm and platform, the firm said in a statement.

Lingvist team

“We are very pleased to welcome a global leader like Rakuten to our corner as an investor as we start to scale out our platform and new language offerings.” said Mait Müntel, the CEO of Lingvist.

Müntel set up Lingvist in 2014, after developing the prototype software to learn French in 200 hours. Encouraged by his progress, he launched it as a startup.

Lingvist II

The company’s software is based on statistical analysis and adaptive machine learning algorithms developed at CERN. In a personalised approach, using mathematical optimisation, the tool tailors tasks according to one’s knowledge and skills. It takes languages apart and arranges them into micro-lessons that each learner completes in the order that is the most efficient for them, the company said.

Headquartered in Tokyo and with revenue of USD5.3 billion in 2013, Rakuten is one of the world’s leading Internet services companies, with a focus on e­commerce, finance and digital content.

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About the author: Silver Tambur

Silver Tambur is the cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Estonian World. He has previously studied journalism at the University of Tartu, and politics and society at the Birkbeck College, University of London. Silver has been the editor at the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s news service in English, as well as contributing for the Business Sense magazine in the UK, Deutsche Welle and Radio New Zealand. You can also follow him on Twitter and like his page on Facebook. You can write to Silver at