When the pandemic hit and remote work made non-native English speakers compete worldwide with native professionals, the Miami-based startup Linguix saw its user base skyrocket. Now, it has around 200,000 users on its platform, 25% of them are Spanish or Portuguese speakers.
While tools like The Hemingway App proofread text to bypass passive voice and improve writing using the style of American writer Ernest Hemingway, Linguix’s target market are employers and employees that turned to robots to help with word choices and corporate jargon. With the user growth, the artificial intelligence platform announced a $1 million pre-seed round led by Grishin Robotics and Antler New York with participation from Flyer One Ventures and a group of angel investors.
Linguix was founded by Alex Lashkow, a marketer from Eastern Europe with more than one decade of experience. When he came to the United States to launch a content marketing agency to work with international customers, he noted that his English skills were “far from perfect”.
“I struggled to get some contracts. I ended up using multiple writing assistants to boost my writing skills and make me more efficient. There were some tools that were useful. But at the same time, I was frustrated about the experience,” he told Bloomberg Línea.
Lashkow says that classic grammar checkers like Grammarly would correct grammar mistakes, but sometimes he disagreed with those corrections, when he wanted to use passive voice in a specific sentence, for instance. “After you work through the document with the assistant, you would get just grammatically correct content, not good content.”
He started building Linguix two and a half years ago as a task solver tool. “Our first thought was to focus on non-native speakers. But it turned out that this approach to highlight only the most important mistakes was very good for native speakers as well. Because they were helped when they were typing fast or creating instant messages. We talked to customers, and we introduced the automatic intelligent rephrasing feature some time ago, and it was a complete hit because it allows you to instantly improve the text. You just choose from the rewrites that the system offers. All of them are grammatically correct already, so you don’t have to click multiple times on every suggestion to evaluate.”
Now, the startup plans to evolve this feature to make the writing assistant help professionals achieve their goals, whether they are sales managers who need to get more leads or a manager who needs to streamline the business communication within the teams to move faster and achieve better results in business.
Linguix’s final market is B2B but for now the company is answering the B2B segment from B2B2C. “We have lots of individual customers and users but 90% of these folks are using Linguix for work within their team to stay productive. We will use the new funds to streamline processes, get more integration to business tools that will allow us to tap into the B2B segment and develop it faster.”
For now, the platform’s main product is a Chrome extension that users can install and get help from multiple websites. But Lashkow also wants to focus on direct integration with working tools such as Asana and Slack, so that users can benefit from Linguix technology without having the extension installed.
“Proceeds will go towards integrations and intelligent rephrasing to make the tool able to understand the context of the sentence and offer specific rewrites that will use the most for specific phrases for sales, support, etc,” explains the executive.
According to Dataintelo, the AI writing assistant software market is anticipated to grow at an average rate of 28%, from $1.2 billion in 2021 until 2028. “We asked users if they experienced language barriers recently and most of them were answering positively. Linguix is one of the tools that benefited from the remote work situation,” added Lashkow.
He says that Linguix’s first spikes and registrations came from Argentina and Brazil. No wonder companies like the Boston-headquartered startup Slang also announced a $14 million Series A. The startup focuses on professional English training for corporations and also saw a growing demand.
“Portuguese and Spanish-speaking countries are one of the main focus markets for us, and we will experiment towards including more features for non-native speakers living there. For example one of our features that will like to experiment on is the combination of intelligent rephrasing and translation, when you can write a sentence in English, maybe you forgot the English word, but you continue writing in your native language and then rephrase it.”
The startup plans to grow 10-fold its user base over the year, and it wants to add 10 to 15 major integrations with B2B tools.
Linguix is a freemium service. It has a free plan, and professional plans for individuals that costs $18.95 for a month, or $8 per month annually. The company expects to raise a Seed round from six to nine months.