Blog Post

Google Ventures Invests In English Language Learning Startup EnglishCentral

An active week for Google’s venture capital arm. On Thursday, Google Ventures was the lead investor in a round of funding for biotech startup Adimab, and it’s now also listed as an investor in online English language learning company EnglishCentral. The startup says it raised an undisclosed seed round from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Ventures, along with Atlas Ventures and other strategic investors. EnglishCentral was founded by Alan Schwartz, who was previously a GM at speech to text firm Nuance. Users listen to popular video clips (like a speech by the president) and then repeat the words into a microphone; they are scored based on their pronunciation and syntax.

Google has put $100 million into Google Ventures, which was officially set up in late March. It’s not clear, though, how many investments Google Ventures has made so far. MassHighTech, which first reported the EnglishCentral funding, puts the number at at least five: smart grid company Silver Spring Networks, online image company Pixazza, link sharing startup VigLink, along with EnglishCentral and Adimab.

Google has made it clear that it’s interested in investing in a range of startups — with the very broad stated focus being “entrepreneurs who are tackling problems in creative and innovative ways” and the “potential for significant financial return.” The EnglishCentral investment was led by Google Ventures managing partner Rich Miner, who co-founded and later sold Android to Google.