SanomaVentures has invested in Dutch edtech company ITSLanguage. ITSLanguage has developed leading edge speech recognition software to assess foreign language pronunciation, including detailed feedback on errors and potential improvements. Educational publishers and software developers can easily implement the technology as a cloud-based service in their products. For smaller publishers ITSLanguage provides plug-and-play exercises and practice material.
Digital tools for practicing pronunciation
Herman Kienhuis, investment director SanomaVentures: “Digital course material and tools are becoming increasingly important in mainstream education. ITSLanguage’s technology enables language learning providers, like Sanoma’s Dutch educational publishing unit Malmberg, to enrich their digital offerings. We believe in the experienced management team and the potential of the technology, which allows a broad range of students to independently practice and improve their foreign language pronunciation.”
Neural networks and machine learning
Neural networks are the backbone of artificial intelligence and of ITSLanguage’s technology. In cooperation with various educational institutions, tens of thousands of audio fragments have been recorded and assessed. ITSLanguage and the University of Sheffield have jointly processed the obtained data during a multiyear research program. Based on this research, ITSLanguage developed the technology for educational purposes, but also sees opportunities for application in other sectors, such as the healthcare industry.
Michiel Sanders, founder and CEO of ITSLanguage: “Technology plays an increasingly important role for education. Both students and teachers increasingly demand personalized learning solutions. ITSLanguage’s speech recognition technology meets this changing demand and improves language learning efficiency. We are inspired every day by students, teachers and companies who envision new applications of our technology. SanomaVentures’ support, both in terms of capital and in terms of expertise and network, will help us to bring this to the market and allows us to continue to develop new features in the years ahead.”
SanomaVentures is the corporate venturing arm of European media and learning company Sanoma Corporation ($SAA1V). SanomaVentures aims to support digital startups by providing capital, media reach, industry expertise, network and active support and focuses on strategic early-stage investments in innovative start-ups in online media & marketing, e-commerce and education. SanomaVentures has offices in Amsterdam and Helsinki and has since 2012 invested in amongst others Scoupy, Peerby, VirtuaGym, Brandkids, Nosto, Springest, Roomlr, SendCloud, and SCOOL.
sanomaventures.com | twitter.com/sanomaventures
ITSLanguage develops and operates speech technology specifically for language education. A passion for education and leading edge technology played a key role in the start of ITSLanguage. ITSLanguage is founded in 2012 and has since become a major provider of speech technology for educational software. The company aims to enhance publishers to create the best language learning applications and facilitates such by providing plug-and-play speech technology components. Its strong cooperation with the University of Sheffield (U.K.) guarantees the quality of its products and enables ITSLanguage’s customers to deploy the latest technological developments.