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Press Release – ELSA Announced Winner at SXSWedu 2016 Launch Competition

Austin, TX: Today, ELSA is proud and honored to be selected as the winner of the SXSWedu 2016 Launch Competition. Vu Van, ELSA Co-founder & CEO pitched in two rounds at the competition in Austin in front of esteemed judges who are education experts and leaders in investments, startups, schools and classrooms. ELSA is a mobile app for language learners to improve pronunciation and reduce accent, utilizing in-house speech recognition, automated feedback and deep learning technology. ELSA is recognized for its innovative approach and its vision for solving one pressing skill for 1.5 billion English language learners in the world.

“Winning the competition is a humbling experience for us. We’re honored, grateful, and especially even more reminded that we’re working on solving a real education problem with a technology solution that is scalable all over the world. The experience further motivates our team to keep moving ahead with our development and commercialization plans in Asia and the U.S.” – said Vu Van at the competition.

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ELSA is the winner at SXSWedu Launch

We are the winning team. The first Vietnamese team ever won at the biggest competition for EdTech startups in the world.

Selected from a large number of competing teams all over the world with innovative tech products aiming to help solve problems in education, ELSA was among the top 10 best teams and after a convincing 3-minute pitch – advanced straight to the top 3 finalists of the competition.


ELSA’s CEO & co-founder – Vu Van – is pitching in front of SXSWedu judges.

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It’s an ELSA Day! :)

ELSA Pronunciation app ~ Google Play Store

To me, February has a lot to celebrate. Today is one of those important days. After lots of sleepless nights, ELSA Speak app is finally available on Google Play Store for beta testing.

As we build ELSA, we are working one step closer to our dream of equal opportunities for all. That in this flat and borderless world, English should never be a barrier that stops us reaching the fullest potential. That speaking should be joyful, not fearful. That all accents are accepted, as long as we can fully understand each other. That all biases regarding accents should be reduced / removed, and our real talent should speak for itself at the workplace.

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New year resolutions for speaking better English (or ELSA’s guide to discover yourself and the world)

2015 has come to an end. New Year, as always, is the time for reflection: what you have achieved, and what what you have not yet. However, more importantly, New Year is the time for setting new goals – so that by the end of next year, you can look back and see whether you are getting closer to where you wanna be.

ELSA has had a wonderful year as I got the chance to meet and help so many people practice and be more confident when speaking English. And on this New Year occasion, I want to make my own resolution, too. That is, to help more and more people overcome the language barrier and let their voice be heard and cherished.

How about yours?

In case you want to speak better English in the next year, here are a few suggestions from ELSA.

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/s/ or /z/?

In American English, s can be pronounced either as /s/ or /z/. As easy as it may sound, in fact, you can be quite confused between the two. But don’t you worry, ELSA is here to offer some help.

Be clear about the difference between /s/ and /z/

  • The /s/ sound:  Relax your mouth a bit. Place the tip of your tongue close to the back of your teeth, but don’t touch them. Let the air out between your teeth to make a hissing sound.
  • The /z/ sound: Place your tongue just like in the s position, but this time, tense your tongue a bit more when you push the air out. If you can feel some sort of vibration, you’ve done it correctly

Image: WikiHow

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