Fluently, an AI startup founded by YCombinator alum, raises $2M seed round for AI-powered speaking coach for calls

With 84 million non-native employees working in English-speaking environments, companies spend a staggering $10 billion annually on corporate English training to enhance communication and boost confidence. Now, one tech startup aims to transform how near-native speakers refine their English language skills and fluency.

Meet Fluently, an AI-powered app designed to elevate the English proficiency of non-native professionals through real-time feedback after every Zoom call. Imagine having a personal language coach constantly listening and providing insightful tips to enhance your fluency.

Leveraging the power of AI, Fluently acts as a coach, delivering immediate feedback on users’ spoken English. Similar to ELSA’s AI speech tutor and traditional one-on-one coaching, Fluently sets itself apart by deriving feedback from actual call interactions.

The inspiration behind Fluently comes from the personal experiences of its co-founders, Yurii Rebryk (CEO) and Stan Beliaev (CTO). As non-native speakers themselves, they deeply understand the importance of mastering English in a global workforce. This insight helped them secure a spot in Y Combinator’s Winter 2024 batch. Even before Demo Day, Fluently successfully raised $2 million in a seed round, with contributions from Pioneer Fund, SID Venture Partners, and individual angels.

Fluently offers an efficient and convenient approach to enhancing speaking skills. By providing feedback on pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary after each call, fine-tune the learning process over time. Recent advancements in machine learning and the power of M1 chips for local processing make this possible.

The founders’ shared background in machine learning and their impressive track records, with internships at Amazon, Google, and Nvidia, have garnered significant interest from venture capitalists. The startup currently operates with a distributed team of four, three of whom are engineers.

“We are non-native founders addressing a pain point we personally experienced, with deep expertise in running ML on edge devices,” Rebryk and Beliaev said.

During his university years, Yurii interned at Google, Nvidia, Lyft, and Amazon, focusing on ML research. He later founded and grew a deep-tech startup from 2 to 50 employees. Similarly, Stan interned at Google and Nvidia, contributing to ML research before founding a startup that developed cutting-edge face and voice swap technologies for mobile devices in real time.

With Fluently, users receive personalized feedback after each online call, helping them achieve English fluency. The app aims to be a comprehensive solution for improving speaking skills, focusing on understandability rather than accent. It addresses pronunciation, grammar, pace, and vocabulary expansion. Future features may include rephrasing advice akin to Grammarly or Ludwig for writing, according to Rebryk.

Currently in its beta form, Fluently is still evolving and facing performance challenges. However, it supports every meeting platform without the need for bots to join calls. Users can track their progress with detailed metrics and complete personalized exercises to improve their English.

Fluently English Language Progress Tracker

Fluently offers a free trial, but users must provide credit card details. The service costs $25 per month thereafter, a worthwhile investment for professionals aiming to improve their language skills, especially in the tech sector.

Check out this YouTube video for an overview of Fluently.