Fluent Forever Struggles With Unclear Market Strategy - KingsCrowd

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Fluent Forever's language-learning app is backed by science. But the company's path to success is far from clear.

 
Details
Company: Fluent Forever on Republic 2022
Security Type: SAFE
Valuation: $35,000,000
Min Investment: $150
Platform: Republic
Deadline: Oct 11, 2022
$5,000,000
Teddy Lyons - August 30th

The Promise of a Polyglot

Learning a language is hard.

I couldn’t even get a basic grasp of Spanish in middle school. So I eventually just threw in the towel and took Latin — a dead language that’s barely spoken.  

I’ve always held the belief that gaining fluency in a language as an adult is next to impossible without innate abilities. It’s one of those things that everyone wants to do — but it’s too difficult to seriously pursue. I grew up speaking Serbian in my house. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to try and learn Serbian in my adult life. And the stats support this. Studies show that the ability to learn a language is strongest until age 18, after which it drastically declines.

So when I came across Fluent Forever — a company claiming that its language-learning method could help users gain fluency in less than a year — I was naturally intrigued. The company’s CEO, Gabriel Wyner, is a polyglot and New York Times bestselling author of the book Fluent Forever. He learned four languages in just a few years by starting with pronunciation, moving onto vocabulary and grammar, and ending with language immersion.

He wrote about this method in a viral Lifehacker article in 2012. Wyner then secured a book deal and began creating pronunciation and language resources through an advanced flashcard app called Anki. While these products were successful in their own right, customers wanted Fluent Forever to take the next step by developing a mobile app. Wyner obliged them by launching an app in 2019. The app stresses ear training, pronunciation exercises, and word-image association to teach languages more quickly. It also offers daily and weekly language coaching that allows customers to practice what they’ve learned in a more immersive way.

Fluent Forever has seen strong early growth over the last three years. The company hit $1 million in annual revenue and raised $4.9 million in a venture capital round in 2020 at a $13.5 million valuation. In 2021, the company’s revenue was $1.9 million, and it raised $1.1 million at a $25 million valuation. Now the company is looking to raise up to $5 million at a $35 million valuation.

With those basics out of the way, let’s get into the meat-and-potatoes of Fluent Forever as an investment opportunity.  

For me, this boils down to three main questions:

  • Is Fluent Forever verifiably more effective than competitors?
  • Is there a clear growth strategy for business?
  • Is there a path to a 10x return?

Lets approach these one by one.

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