Can you describe briefly what Sounds Good do?
Sounds Good is a game company developing tailored and personalised pronunciation and vocabulary learning tailored towards students who learn English or Norwegian as a second language.
Tailored pronunciation and vocabulary training help students practise more relevant content and learn efficiently. Sounds Good tailors pronunciation training towards more than 500 mother tongues and gamifies this together with relevant vocabulary training for the students, making the process of learning a language fun and engaging for the student and more efficient for the teacher.
How does your product work?
Our products are based on cutting-edge research and technology in linguistics and phonetics. We provide personalized and tailored games in listening, pronunciation and vocabulary tailored towards the user’s mother tongue.
First, the game asks the user about his or her mother tongue. The Sounds Good algorithm then identify all language sounds that appear in the target language and which of these sounds that are not present in your mother tongue. Once identified, our engine dives into a database filled with thousands of listening and pronunciation exercises, and offer the user a tailored pronunciation training so that the user can learn efficiently. In the next step, the user can provide the game with information about his or her workplace or hobbies, and our game engine then finds exercises in relevant vocabulary so that the user can learn a language using the relevant content.
What do you want to change?
We want to give people around the world the ability to express themselves in the language they need to work and live. Nearly 300 million people migrate from one country to another every year, and language is the most important skill that enables you to integrate and get a job. Most digital language providers have up until now focused on reading and writing training because pronunciation training is hard and there is no solution that fits all. Pronunciation is usually learned from an English teacher in the native country, but that English teacher often makes the same pronunciation mistakes as the learner. With Sounds Good we can reach users all over the world with personalized vocabulary training and a professional pronunciation coach that is immersive and fun!
Why did you choose edtech?
We did not choose EdTech, EdTech chooses us! Matthew came knocking on Ole’s door because he had a problem as an expat that he wanted to do something about. He was trying to use online language learning solutions to master Norwegian so that he could thrive at his workplace, but he could not find any learning program that provided him with relevant vocabulary. Together they founded the company Box Of Words to build a solution. At another time and place in Trondheim, Marie was asked to commercialize language research from NTNU that had taken 10 years to build and the company Sounds Good was formed. Two months later the founders met and magic happened! Today the two companies have merged into Sounds Good and a strong team is working hard to help language learners across the globe.
What do you see are the biggest challenges in this market?
The language learning market is the most attractive market within edtech, but this also means there is a tsunami of competition and a lot of players trying to grab a bite of the market. The biggest challenges for Sounds Good is, therefore, to achieve user adoption and distribution to end users. The company, therefore, puts a lot of focus on gamification to create a product that balances the seriousity of learning and the fun of playing a game, and the team is working hard to attract partners on a national and global level.
What is your next big steps or ambitions?
Our first step is to launch a product for Norwegian learners in Norway in September. Our next big step is to launch the same product towards English learners in an international market, hence our ambition is to find an international partner with distribution to scale.
In what way has being a member of Oslo Edtech Cluster made a difference for you?
Oslo Edtech Cluster has been a fantastic source of information and resources. They have such a great overview of the Edtech landscape and if you need an intro to anyone, they are a natural point of connection. They also host events that are relevant and great for learning new things or networking.
How many employees do you have?
5 at the moment.
Which stage do you say your company is at? Growth? Well established?
The company is in development and market roll-out stage. We have recently launched our pronunciation app in Norway and are continuing our growth into the adult language learning market here. Next steps are launching our products into strategic international markets where people have the need to improve their English pronunciation.