Blue Canoe, a Bellevue-based startup specializing in English language training, has announced the end of their round of seed funding mid-October, earning an additional $2.5 million. This brings the total amount raised to date to $3.9 million as the company looks to use the funding to scale both the product and revenues, with a focus on Japan and China.

Blue Canoe is a developing company that has made an interface designed to help those who speak English as a second language perfect English pronunciations. The technology uses the patented Color Vowel System, a 20-year-old, brain-based methodology which has helped millions of English learners globally. Blue Canoe has the exclusive license to digitize the Color Vowel System, and has developed a virtual AI teacher who uses the methodology to gear English toward young children, students, or adults.

Today, more than 1.5 billion people worldwide are learning English worldwide, according to TESOL International Association. As English is seen as an international language of business, not being able to speak English fluently has become an economic barrier for some. Blue Canoe technology aims to address this issue, with their customer list mostly comprised of multi-national corporations and English training institutions.

“Learning to speak English clearly is much harder than learning to read or write it, and for millions of people around the world it is a barrier to greater economic success,” Sarah Daniels, Blue Canoe CEO and co-founder, included in a prepared statement. “Blue Canoe is a game-changer, providing the most effective way to learn to speak English in a way that others can easily understand.”

This round of seed funding was led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Tsingyuan Ventures, which has also joined the company’s board. A significant portion of their portfolio is in AI-related applications, including computer vision and autonomous drivers.

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