Paul Evans: Helping the World Speak More Clearly

August 6, 2022

We’re™ : Helping the world speak more clearly.
At™ we develop an English-speaking practice app. Increasing students’ pronunciation & fluency accuracy.

We want to change the way 1.5 billion ESL students get the chance to practice speaking English.

Tell us about yourself?

For more than 20 years, I have worked in the technology sector (software, electronics, and silicon). With a BEng in Digital Electronics, I began my career as a hardware engineer for a small firm in the UK. I soon became involved in marketing and business development. That combination of skills has taken me all over the World and I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived both in the UK and the US.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Oh gosh. Err, listen harder. There are many people giving you clues. It’s a matter of sorting the clues (based on experience and data) from the opinions.

What problem does your business solve?

Have you ever tried to learn another language? Did you start off enthusiastically but tail off over time? This is very common, especially if you’re not in the native speaking country. How do you get the opportunity to practice speaking and keeping going? This is what we’re aiming to solve.
Embarrassment free speaking practice, available 24/7, at scale. Speaking practice that motivates the student to keep going and delivers confidence.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The original business concept started simply enough, I was searching for an app to aid in my children’s reading, but just couldn’t find anything that accomplished, what I had anticipated at the time, that apps would already be doing. Specifically, I was looking for an app that would listen to my kids read, provide feedback and suggest new, more challenging text as they developed.

For a while, I sort of kicked that around, but I never really got going. Then, as I travelled for work, I recognised that I was frequently running across people who, in one way or another, were mentioning to me that they felt frustrated with their English. (This despite the fact that their English was thousands of times better than any of my attempts at languages I’ve tried to learn.) I then realised that the prior app concept could be considerably more useful to learning English as a Second language and so™ was born.

What is your magic sauce?

We focus on long form speech. By this I mean more than individual words or short phrases. Yes, we do those too, be we’re about getting the student to practice contemporary speech not just working on grammar or word lists.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Our vision is to establish a platform with more than 50 million users and a thriving community of tutors and students. We want our users to truly feel that they’re getting immense benefits and confidence out of using the platform. That’s important to us. And furthermore, we want the platform to be opening up opportunities not just in improving a language skill for the sake of it, but focussing the results on increasing life opportunities.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Early on we had a HR related problem. That was very painful for all involved. Taught me a lot about hiring though.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We are currently looking for English as a second language tutor who would like to be involved with our technology. We have some exciting new tools currently in the works and are looking for educators who want to be early adopters in the next step.

Of course, we are always very excited to receive feedback from the app user, which can be publicly downloaded from the Apple or Google stores.

And if you’re interested in investing, we’d be delighted to chat. (Our next round is likely to sometime early in the fourth quarter.

For any of the above feel free to reach out to me directly: [email protected]

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