NEW YORK — Language teaching service Fluent City has closed a $3 million funding round led by Lerner Enterprises. Also investing are EdTech leaders including: New Ground Ventures, ZG Ventures; WorldQuant Ventures; John Katzman; Matthew Hanson, Partner of Runway Growth Credit; Jack Larson; and Nick Hammerschlag, President of Entangled Ventures. The company has raised $5.5 million to date.
Launched in 2011, Fluent City has reinvented language training through proprietary tools, custom content, and a unique approach based on functional proficiency – eschewing the traditional focus on grammar and developing curricula around real-life situations. The company provides training in 11 different languages, offering individuals, groups, and organizations online instruction worldwide and in-person training in New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston. Calvin Klein, Viacom, Dataminr, Huge, “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Madam Secretary” are just a few of the company’s corporate clients. Fluent City has provided over 175,000 hours of instruction to more than 25,000 students and currently employs nearly 350 instructors.
“Language education can be divided into two categories: traditional, largely outmoded language schools, and gamified self-study tools that don’t actually teach you much. With our relentless commitment to helping our students attain functional proficiency in their target language, Fluent City represents a new model. For example, a beginner Fluent City student doesn’t learn phrases like ‘The dog is brown’ — a classic example of a sentence that you’ll never actually use. Our approach blends cutting-edge technology and a deeply human-centered instructional method to drive superior outcomes,” said Fluent City CEO James Rohrbach. “The global language market is $100B a year – and yet language learning outcomes are some of the worst of any discipline. Our mission is to solve that problem, and in doing so foster communication and cultural understanding worldwide. I’m thrilled to be able to apply the deep expertise and strategic capital of our world class investors to further our goal.”
Founded in 2011, Fluent City accepts only 4% of instructor applicants from all over the world, and supports this team with 20 proprietary texts, a unified curriculum, and digital products. Instruction is offered in Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Hebrew and English.
The new investment in the company will be used to advance the buildout of custom content and materials, instructor training and development, physical market expansion, and online content and technology development. In addition, Fluent City has recently made several key education and technology hires, including Anna Norris, former managing editor of Oxford University Press ELT.