Learn English Language App ELSA Raises $15 Million to Create a B2B Platform

By Adriaan Brits Monday, February 1, 2021

Startup ELSA, which stands for “English Language Speech Assistant,” secured $15 million in a Series B round, headed by Vietnam Investments Group and SIG. The funding round for the language-learning business also included existing investors ROI-focused venture fund Gradient Ventures, SOSV, Hill Ventures, as well as Endeavor Catalyst and Globant Ventures.

A woman using voice recognition on a smartphone.

Expanding Into Latin America

The startup was founded in 2015 and now has over 13 million active users for its education app. The company, which previously raised $7 million in Series A, will use the proceeds to expand business into Latin America and create a scalable B2B platform, which will enable businesses and educational institutions to offer the platform’s coaching services to employees or students.

The language-learning startup company also seeks to expand its business operations into Vietnam, India, and Japan, where it saw a surge in demand in 2020. Not long ago, ELSA’s business partnered up with IDP and British Council, which owns the popular IELTS English language test and now advises students to use the company’s app to prepare for the test.

The business is also collaborating with language schools in Vietnam, including IMAP and Speak Up, online learning app YOLA, as well as corporations like Kimberly Clark, Intel, and ATAD.

Vu Van, co-founder and CEO of the company, said that ELSA users are interested in improving their English speaking skills to increase the number of job opportunities and ultimately raise their learning potential.

“This motivation drives a lot of demand for our English learner community in Vietnam, India and Brazil, especially during COVID-19 when we’ve seen enormous interest from the LatAm region as well,” she said.

Van also said that people in Vietnam spend a lot of money on online and offline English courses and apps.

“However, the majority of English learners still struggle to improve their speaking skill because other people don’t understand them or they’re afraid to speak it,” she said.

By using the app the company has created, users have access to resources that will improve their pronunciation and help build confidence when speaking English. The main competitors of the startup are FluentU and Say It; however, Van believes the company’s biggest advantage is its own voice recognition AI technology.


English language learning startup ELSA has raised $15 million in a Series B round, which will be used to create a B2B platform and expand into Latin America, Japan, and India.

About the Author

Headshot for author Adriaan Brits
As an analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in Advanced Analytics & Media.

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