French startup English Attack,which just went into beta, is offering free English language lessons tailored specifically to the young adult market. The company is one of the 20 products pitched by (mainly European) startups in TheNextWeb conference startup rally in Amsterdam this week
Input is the key for language learning, and English Attack targets teenagers and young adults with the type of input they love best: entertainment. The majority of English learners are 15-35, and they are difficult customers. They don’t like rigid text books (in fact, they tend not to be big on reading at all), are enthusiastic gamers and social networkers and, most importantly, don’t like to pay for content online. English Attack builds free language exercises around the type of interactive, social and gaming content they are already using.
The tool is intended to be complementary to more structured English learning like classes and is aimed at intermediate level learners. Teachers can get involved by developing their own exercises. An upcoming teacher platform will also let them assign homework from existing exercises (and track how students scored). Teachers can also advertise for free on the site if they contribute content.
The business model is freemium with paid features to be added in later versions. France is the first test market to be followed shortly by Turkey and Brazil. English Attack says it has 5 or 6 competitors, only half of which are focused on English and none of which specifically target young adults. The company is currently self-funded.