Video language learning website EnglishCentral recently raised a total of $3.5 million, according to an SEC filing. Part of that funding was $1.38 million from a previous convertible debt round, making the amount raised in the current series A financing $2.1 million. EnglishCentral is backed by Google Ventures and Atlas Venture. The fact that Google Ventures was the lead investor in a seed round last October was reported, but the amount invested was never disclosed. Based on the information in the filing, it is possible that that the seed round was in the form of the $1.38 million convertible note and is now converting into equity with the additional $2.1 million investment.
The filing does not say who the invested in the new round, but Rich Miner of Google Ventures is listed as a director of the company. Google Ventures is Google’s venture arm which launched last April with an initial $100 million and can invest in pretty much anything, although mostly it’s been putting money into clean tech startups.
EnglishCentral is a language tutorial site which uses popular videos from movies, news clips, and other categories to help people around the world learn English. Students watch a captioned video, and then try to repeat the phrases by speaking into a microphone and recording their attempts. Speech-to-text software tries to make sense of their pronunciation and gives them grades for accuracy, which they can track over time. The video tutorials are free, but the site also connects language students with tutors, and presumably takes a cut of any resulting fees.
We have contacted both EnglishCentral and Google Ventures for clarification on the details of the funding and will update if we here back.