Softbank Invests in Qualson, Developer of English-Learning Apps

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On July 28, 2014, Softbank Ventures (CEO Kyu Hak Moon) announced a 1 million dollar investment in Qualson Inc. (CEO Soo Young Park), a mobile English educational service.

Qualson’s two notable applications are AppTeacher and Shou!d. Both apps aim to provide the users with fast and easily accessible English lessons. On these apps, users get real-time instructions from native English speakers who interact with the students individually via instant messages or phone calls.

AppTeacher is specifically designed to improve English composition and writing skills. Shou!d, on the other hand, gives tips on speaking and listening. Unlike most other mobile teaching apps, both applications do not require customers to commit an extensive amount of time for each lesson. As long as the user has a minute to spare, he or she can simply record or text answers to instructors via the apps. This particular ready-to-goness stands out as Qualson’s strength, as it is the student users who are ultimately given the control over when or when not to take language lessons.

In 2013, both Samsung SDS and POSCO made seed investments in Qualson. Now, both companies, as well as more than 120 different government agencies, use Qualson’s applications to develop their employees’ English skills. Such is a unique case because most English educational mobile applications in Korea are generally marketed toward individual consumers. Although Qualson offers a B2C version of its app called Talk2Me, Qualson’s main clienteles are large corporations.

“Qualson’s mobile applications not only transferred educational content from offline and online to mobile environments, but also simply made language learning convenient and easy,” said Dong Hwan Kim, a Senior Analyst at Softbank. “Using our already-established networks, the company [Softbank] plans to support Qualson long term until it becomes successful; not only in the Korean market, but also in the Asian-English education market.”

Soo Young Park, the CEO of Qualson Inc., also laid out his company’s ambitious goals for the future. “Through our ‘Mobile First’ business strategy, we will consider this investment as a great opportunity to stabilize our position in the industry and expand our influence in Asia.”

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