CyberAgent Ventures, the venture capital arm of CyberAgent (TSE:4751), has announced its investment in language education platform Language Cloud. The startup is a graduate of Tokyo-based incubator Open Network Lab, and its previous investors include Digital Garage, 500 Startups, Sunbridge Global Ventures, and Etsuji Otsuka.
Since releasing in private beta in April 2012, the language-learning platform provider has been working closely with language teachers and students at 54 institutions across Japan and abroad to build the best platform for language education. Co-founder Billy Kosuke Martyn tells us that later this week the platform plans to release a major interface improvement and some key features at the TESOL International Convention and English Language Expo in Dallas, Texas.
Language Cloud has already been used at Tokyo’s Sophia University for the purpose of digitally administering their placement test for students entering Faculty of Liberal Arts this April. Data accumulated from the placement tests (such as homework, quizzes, exams) can be analyzed to make recommendations to students regarding supplemental materials such as content and third-party applications.
Besides improvements on the core platform, Language Cloud began building its app center where third party content and applications can be integrated into the platform and made available to users. They have already signed a licensing agreement with major publishers where they will work as content providers in the app center. The site is currently in talks with other content providers as well as e-learning applications to further enhance the learning experience for students.
The two co-founders of Language Cloud, John Martyn and Billy Martyn, are brothers born to American and Japanese parents. They have applied their own experience growing up in a dual-language environment into Language Cloud. Billy elaborates:
There are currently a several hundred teachers on our waiting list excited to try out our product. Learning a language used to be a fragmented process, our aim is to unify the process by becoming the central hub of all learning data.
In addition to Japan, the startup has is looking to go global to markets in the United States, China, and South Korea sometime this year.
Speaking of China, CyberAgent Ventures will establish a yuan-denominated fund this May to invest soley in Chinese companies, this according to Dow Jones & Company.