Japanese language learning startup Lang-8 secures funding from CyberAgent Ventures



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based startup Lang-8, which runs a language learning platform based on peer corrections, announced today that it has raised funding from CyberAgent Ventures. The exact details of the funding were not disclosed.

Lang-8 has acquired over 730,000 users from 219 countries and regions around the world, with about 70% coming from outside Japan. According to the company’s CEO Yangyang Xi, they plan to use these funds to develop a new service, and add three more engineers to their current three-person team.

Xi initially launched the language learning platform when he was attending Kyoto University. Seven years have passed since then up until this funding. He notes that he has received much assistance from other entrepreneurs:

Many people gave me advice for fundraising, including, Kensuke Furukawa (Nanapi), Ryusuke Matsumoto (Community Factory), Kiyo Kobayashi (serial entrepreneur, ex-CEO of Nobot), and Taku Harada (Peatix). But since I was running a service with a small team, I wanted to keep doing it ourselves without fundraising. But we started to explore funding opportunities back last July, and got a good response. When I met with Koichiro Yoshida (Crowdworks), he told me to meet with all available VC firms around him and try to raise funds.

Takanori Yokoi (Increments) also gave me sound advice. I’ve been sticking to metrics and logic, but he told me I should speak with more courage and not sweat the small stuff.

Every time I talked with Xi, he tended to be a little nervous about doing something new, despite the fact that his service has great potential. If he kept going in this way, I think he wouldn’t be able to create a disruptive service. After this new fundraising, perhaps he will be more aggressive.

And while I can’t disclose too much at this time, he actually is preparing to launch a new service. We’ll take a further look at it when the time comes.