Most of the top English tutoring platforms focus on children, including VIPKID and Magic Ears. Ringle has created a niche for itself by focusing on adults first, with courses like Business English and Interview Preparation. The South Korean-based startup today announced it has raised an $ 18 million Series A led by returning investor Must Asset Management, for a valuation of $ 90 million. Ringle is preparing to launch a program for schoolchildren later this year and also plans to open offline educational spaces in South Korea and the United States.
Other participants in the round, which brings Ringle’s total raised to $ 20 million, include returning investors One Asset Management and MoCA Ventures, as well as new backer Xolon Invest. Ringle says its revenue has grown three times a year since its inception in 2015, and class bookings have increased 390% from the previous year.
Ringle currently has 700 tutors, pre-selected by the company, and 100,000 users. About 30% of its students, who learn through one-on-one live video sessions, are based outside Korea, including the US, UK, Japan, Australia and Singapore.
Ringle’s co-founders are Seunghoon Lee and Sungpah Lee, both with MBAs from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. They developed Ringle based on the challenges they faced as non-native English speakers and graduate students in the United States. The startup was first created to serve professionals already established in their careers or in academia. Its students include people who have worked for companies like Google, Amazon, BCG, McKinsey, and Samsung Electronics.
Seunghoon Lee told TechCrunch that Ringle creates exclusive news-based learning materials to keep his students interested. For example, recent topics have included NFT blockchain technology, how the movie “Parasite” portrays class conflict and global inequalities in access to vaccines.
Ringle tutors are recruited from top universities and must submit proof of education and check their school emails. The company’s verification process also includes a mock session with Ringle staff. Lee said applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with some of Ringle’s learning materials and lead a full lesson based on his advice. Ringle assesses applicants on their teaching skills and ability to lead engaging discussions that also hone their students’ language skills.
Some of Ringle’s new funding is earmarked for its technology platform. He is currently developing a linguistic diagnostic system that tracks the complexity and accuracy of students’ spoken English with researchers from KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology).
The company already has an AI-based analysis system that uses text-to-speech and measures the rate of speech (or words spoken per minute), the amount of filler words, and the range of words and words. expressions in the courses. It provides feedback that allows students to compare their performance with the top 20% of Ringle users on different metrics.
The new language diagnostic system currently in development with KAIST will begin releasing features over the next few months, including speech fluency scoring, a custom dictionary, and automatic paraphrase suggestions.
The funding will also be used to create more original learning content and hire for Ringle’s offices in Seoul and San Mateo, California. Ringle also plans to diversify its revenue streams by offering premium subscription content, and will launch its junior program for students aged 10 and up later this year.