Taking advantage of globalization, GlobalEnglish is doubling down on its business of teaching English to employees of small businesses and multinational corporations.
Today, the company is announcing a major overhaul that gives its customers new ways to collaborate as they learn and communicate. The aim is to help businesspeople communicate more effectively with visitors, partners, or distributed team members.
The new GlobalEnglish Suite includes new tools such as the Global English LinGo Pro Mobile Business Language app, which provides easy access to definitions, correct pronunciations, and translations. The app can translate industry and topical vocabulary as well as company-specific jargon and acronyms into 34 languages. The app is available on iPhone and Android devices as well as on mobile browsers.
The idea is to apply business-oriented English to real work, such as presentations or negotiations. The app is an add-on to the already-existing GlobalEnglish LinGo app, which provides the dictionary and pronunciation functions. It uses both recording and sound playback to help users grasp pronunciation.
The app works with another new software product, GlobalEnglish Bloom, a component of the GlobalEnglish suite, that uses embedded experts, popular social tools, and peer-to-peer advice to improve worker productivity. With Bloom, employees can upload a document and get immediate feedback on how to improve it so that it can be more easily understood by people speaking other languages. Users can create their own wikis on how to pronounce certain company-specific jargon.
GlobalEnglish is also launching GlobalEnglish Edge, an upgrade to an existing corporate learning service that will now include advanced speech recognition and remediation technology. The Edge tool provides easier access to content and more intuitive navigation. It has easier pronunciation practice activities, better performance feedback on writing and speaking, and less administrative work. Subscribers to the service can practice common business language, grammar and writing so they can do tasks such as negotiating, hosting meetings, or doing presentations. The speech technology lets users listen to any written text with the proper pronunciation.
Mahesh Ram, the recently appointed chief executive of GlobalEnglish, said that the gap in English fluency can be quite costly for companies, since it results in lost proposals, flubbed sales meeting, communications mishaps and productivity hits. For tech companies, it means that not every employee of the firm will be able to participate in discussions about innovation. The company says its product scales up from 100 employees to millions.
Brisbane, Calif.-based GlobalEnglish was founded in 1997 and launched one of the first online language learning platforms in 2000. In recent years, its growth has accelerated. In 2009, revenues were $35 million to $40 million, and the compound annual growth rate for the past four years was 28 percent. The company has been profitable since 2006. The company servers more than 350 of Global 2000 companies, including BNP Paribas, Capgemini, Cisco, Deloitte, Hilton, and John Deere. GlobalEnglish has 210 employees. Rivals include English First, Berlitz, Rosetta Stone, Wall Street Institute and Really English.
GlobalEnglish has raised $65 million from Reece Duca, IGSB, Mayfield, SPO Partners and Mitsubishi.