Hey, I just wanted you to know that I have taken on a new challenge. After a couple of years as an active advisor to a number on companies in the gaming / mobile space including my own startup, Playhopper, I recently decided to do something new, something unexpected and something that that I have never done before. It all started, at Le Web (thanks to my old friend @loic for the invitation!) in Paris when I ran into a Yoni Cheifetz, general partner at Lightspeed Israel. Yoni kept raving about this company, Ginger, that he had privately invested in.
I didn’t think much about it then but agreed to swing by and take a look at it once back in Israel. Said and done, I started a series of meetings with the founder, Yael Karov. Yael is an amazing entrepreneur deeply rooted in natural language processing technology and linguistics. Even more impressing, she has managed to build this company, raised $15 MM while juggling with three kids and still remain a real Mensch. Beat that!
Initially I dismissed Ginger as a boring software for grammar correction. But boy was I blind. After digging much deeper into the technology, the platform and the potential usages, I realized that I had just seen the tip of the iceberg and that perhaps the company just did not have the right positioning & message.
So what does Ginger do?
Ginger’s mission is to help people expresse themselves better and improve their English communication. For the billions using English as a second language and learning English, Ginger’s innovative products serve as a companion anywhere you type, helping you to communicate like a native speaker.
Ginger’s Proofreader product is the market’s leading contextual grammar and spell checker. It corrects text based on context and is able to correct severe spelling and grammar mistakes. What’s really unique is that based on the user’s mistakes corrected by the Proofreader, Ginger’s Personalized Tutor helps users learn from their own mistakes. It automatically creates an entertaining personalized learning program with tailored lessons and quizzes for each user.
However, there is much more under the “hood” than currently meets the eye, and we are working on a number of products aimed at improving communication and conversations between people on all platforms. In fact, I can’t wait to share more. But everything has its time.
I’ve been looking for a meaningful challenge that addresses a real problem, carries a huge market opportunity, and is rooted in deep technology with a scalable platform. Ginger has all this and much more. Yael Karov has founded an impressive company with a fantastic team, coupled with some of the best Natural Language Processing experts and linguists you can find.
In what way is it meaningful?
Its a meaningful because billions of people use English as a second language and even more are learning English around the world. However, it is really difficult to really improve your English unless you live or work in an English speaking environment. We want to change that. To add to the meaningfulness, Melinda & Bill Gates foundation have reported that there potential significant impact on lifetime earnings by improving English ability. Now that’s food for thought.
What is the market opportunity?
- More than 1 Billion people using English as a second lanaguage (ESL) on a daily basis and more than
- $50 Billion spent worldwide on English Learning
- 100′s of millions monthly searches on English learning and grammar
- $1.7 Billion is spent on Online English Learning by 2014 with an annual growth of 22%
In what way is Ginger’s technology scalable?
- Novel statistical linguistic language model
- Learned automatically from the “infinite” Internet corpus
- Indexed 1.5 trillon words & counting
- Language model will reach 95% in 2012
- No serious competition
- 4 pending patents : 3 awards, several grants
Ginger’s technology is good for many other things like voice (we do have our own TTS technology) contextual multi-media prediction. We also have a number of API’s available you can plugin to ang “Gingerize” your product/platform.
And perhaps one of the most important thing: real people & real menschen! I’ve come to a point in my life where I just want to work with great real people. Life is too short to spend working woth A-holes, no matter how smart, talented and celebrated they are. You have only one life. Make sure you spend it on something that really matters and with real people.
In short, Huge Pain. Big Market. Growing fast. Amazing product. Winning team.
Ginger in Techcrunch
Sign up for my email list!