In an age of digital-first communication, the ability to write clearly and concisely is a crucial business skill. That’s hard enough for native English speakers. But it’s a particularly difficult challenge for people who are trying to learn English while also using it.
Alex Lashkov knows this struggle firsthand. In his native Moscow, he helped Eastern European companies set up their US sales and marketing strategies. “I knew that my language skills weren’t sufficient, so I decided to find digital tools that would help me,” Lashkov told Refresh Miami.
That led Lashkov to try a wide range of platforms including unicorn startup Grammarly. However, he was dissatisfied with the offerings: “Grammarly didn’t fit into my workflow because I realized that it doesn’t engage your brain. I could make one specific mistake 100 times and just keep clicking to correct it 100 times without learning to fix it.” Lashkov found language learning platforms like Duolingo helpful, but insufficiently tailored to his specific needs as someone learning English.
Two years ago, Lashkov started developing a solution to this problem. He launched Linguix, a free writing assistant that not only highlights your writing mistakes, but also explains them. The tool integrates into all major web browsers, but is also available as a web app and through a wide range of integrations, including into the Microsoft Office suite.
“Linguix helps you instantly, but also offers you personalized training,” Lashkov noted.
Its Writing Coach tool uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to analyze your writing and identify areas of improvement. Linguix then provides users with grammar lessons tailored to their needs.
As of the end of July 2021, the Miami-based Linguix reports that it has 115,000 users. That includes around 45,000 installations of its browser extension. This growth has been exponential, increasing from just 5,000 users in July 2020. According to Lashkov, the startup’s customer base is mostly made up of people that use Linguix at work: “These are digital marketers, HR professionals, sales and support reps that write lots of emails, edit documents, and communicate in task managers and chat apps.”
The startup relies on a freemium model whereby their tools are free, but users can pay to upgrade and increase their access to tools such as their vocabulary enhancement features. While Writing Coach is currently free, Lashkov hinted that they will soon release premium features.
Linguix has an eight-person team, evenly split between engineering and marketing. While the former is mostly comprised of Eastern European developers, the latter is US-based. Lashkov has been based in Miami for the last five years. He expressed excitement about the increasingly active tech scene: “In my opinion, this growth will increase even faster over the next 12 months,” he said. “I hope that Miami will become a competitor to San Francisco. It needs some time, but I think we can do this.”
In December 2019, Linguix landed $350,000 in early-stage funding. The startup now has its sights set on a $1.5 million seed round, which Lashkov aims to close in early fall. Interested investors can get in touch through Linguix’s website.
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