See the original story in Japanese.
Tokyo-based Polyglots, the Japanese startup behind adaptive learning services like Polyglots for English-language learners and Mondo for Japanese-language learners, announced today that it has fundraised from Tokyo-based EdTech-focused Hitotoki Incubator. Financial details of the investment have not been disclosed. Upon the latest funding, Masayasu Morita, founder and CEO of Hitotoki Incubator, joined the management board of Polyglots.
Since its launch back in July of this year, Mondo, a mobile news reader app for Japanese-language learners, has acquired about 20,000 users while 30% out of them are active monthly users. The company also claimed that about 25% out of all active users have been continuously using the service for over three months.
The user demographics of the Mondo app shows that 75% are male users and 40% are coming from outside Japan. Most of all users are aged between 20s and 40s while office workers have a majority of these, followed by students. As to the reason for using the app, 80% of them cited they want to communicate with Japanese people. 65% answered that they are interested in Japanese culture.
The app has been receiving praise from non-Japanese speaking users, such as the app being helpful in finding Chinese characters and Japanese words while reading actual Japanese news articles or being the best amongst reading apps for middle- or high-level Japanese-language learners. Meanwhile, some users complain that there’s no Mondo app for Android, or it’s slightly hard for budding learners to use because the app is designed for those who can read some Chinese characters at least.
Polyglots Founder and CEO Junya Yamaguchi never in the least expected to see that many users citing they want to communicate with Japanese people as the reason. He says,
Since many of our users are non-Japanese office workers in Japan, We have assumed that they are using our app because of learning Japanese for business occasions. On the other hand, Japanese people are learning English for business needs or TOEIC test, where we see a huge difference in national traits. That’s why we will be focused on connecting Mondo Japanese learning users and Polyglots English learning users with each others.
The company is currently preparing for launching an Android version while adding more reading matters for budding language learners. Going forward, they will connect Mondo and Polyglots users with each others by adding a feature allowing them to teach their languages to each others, while considering providing meet-up opportunities for users not only online but also offline.
They will hold a year-end party called Monja on December 26th in Tokyo, aiming to helping users mingle with each others in different languages so please check out this meetup page.
Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy