An Oxford grad and a JP Morgan intern are building a startup that helps pre-school children learn English

LingumiEntrepreneur FirstLingumi founders Toby Mather and Adit Trivedi.

This week, 25 startups pitched their businesses to some of Europe’s biggest investors after completing Entrepreneur First’s latest six-month company building programme.

Venture capitalists from Google Ventures, Index Ventures, Balderton Capital, and LocalGlobe were in the 200-strong audience to try and spot the next big thing, as were a number of angel investors.

The startups, built by carefully selected deeply technical founders, included everything from AI companies to robotics companies and drone companies.

Investors told Business Insider that the calibre was high all round but it was a children’s app called Lingumi that appeared to be the talk of the town.

Cofounded by Oxford languages graduate Toby Mather and UCL computer science graduate Adit Trivedi, Lingumi has built a platform that helps pre-school children to learn English in countries where English is not the first language. In its investor pitch, Lingumi highlights how pre-school children are the world’s best language learners. Mather and Trivedi want to capitalise on this.

The company’s first product is a set of “Learning Cubes” that interact with a tablet or smartphone to teach sounds, words, and phrases.

Speaking to Business Insider at the demo day, which Entrepreneur First cofounder Alice Bentinck believes to be the biggest in Europe now, CEO Mather said: “If you’re a mum in China, you really want your kid to learn English. The current solutions are either to hire a tutor, which is very expensive and unaffordable for the massive majority, or to wait until they get primary school, where they will start learning English at six from a teacher who almost certainly isn’t native English speaking. So you’re missing the best neurological stage to be learning English. We’re fixing that.”

Trivedi, who left his internship at J.P. Morgan to build Lingumi, added: “There’s no other company out there that I’d like to work for. What we can build is phenomenal. I want to potentially stay in this for 10, 20, 30, 40 years. I love what I do, I don’t want to do anything else.”

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