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.
On the same day, ELSA released ELSA Speak, its first iOS app on the App Store and has received over 25,000 downloads within the first 72 hours. Users commented on how ELSA helped them tremendously with pronunciation, a neglected aspect in the ESL classrooms and with limited experts available especially in foreign countries. ELSA Speak is currently available on both Google Play and App Store.
“We’re very pleased for ELSA. Their recognition, in part, underscores the importance of language supports to fuel the expanding international collaboration we see throughout SXSWedu – from entrepreneurs to educators and beyond.” – said Ron Reed, SXSWedu Executive Producer.
ELSA is an early-stage startup based in San Francisco, founded in 2015 by a team of education entrepreneurs and speech recognition scientists. It’s backed by respected angel investors in Silicon Valley and Vietnam and belongs to StartX Fall 2015 batch, an accelerator for Stanford’s top entrepreneurs. Vu Van, CEO, has an MBA and Masters of Education at Stanford University and 15 years of experience in international business and operations. The inspiration for ELSA came when Vu realized pronunciation and accent pose as a hinder for non-native employees to rise in top global corporations and reach their full potential.
For media inquiries, please contact Vu Van at [email protected]
The SXSWedu Conference & Festival fosters innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders across a variety of backgrounds in education. The four-day event affords registrants open access to engaging sessions, interactive workshops, hands-on learning experiences, film screenings, early-stage startups and a host of networking opportunities. By providing a platform for collaboration, SXSWedu works to promote creativity and social change.
SXSWedu is a component of the South by Southwest® family of conferences and festivals that includes SXSW® Music, Film and Interactive; SXSW Eco® and SXSW V2V®. Internationally recognized as the convergence gathering for the creative arts, SXSWedu extends SXSW’s support for the art of engagement beyond musicians, filmmakers and new media innovators to include society’s true rock stars: educators.
The competition drew upon the insight and expertise of this year’s judges, all of whom serve as leaders in investment, entrepreneurialism, schools and classrooms. The 2016 Launch judges were Joan E. Hughes (The University of Texas at Austin), Juan Cabrera (El Paso ISD), Sam Chaudhary (ClassDojo), Brian Dixon (Kapor Capital), José Luis Vilson (New York Public Schools), Sehreen NoorAli (Noodle Education), Stephen Laster (McGraw Hill Education) and Felice Nudelman (Antioch University). The 2016 SXSWedu Launch competition was emceed by Guy Kawasaki (Canva).
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About StartX: StartX is a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate the development of Stanford’s top entrepreneurs through experiential education. StartX requires no fees and takes zero equity. StartX is an elite accelerator whose mission is to create the best lifelong community and network for high-potential entrepreneurs to develop.