Verbling is a web-based platform where individuals can pair up with
native speakers to practice speaking new languages on live video.
Genius Idea: Verbling makes language learning easy by offering a free way to connect instantly with native speakers with timed prompts and conversation-starting topics.
Verbling was launched in 2011 when co-founders
Jacob Jolis and Mikael Bernstein met while attending Stanford
University. The two dropped out of the prestigious school and teamed up
with then-Google software engineer Fred Wulff to build the
language-learning startup of their dreams.
Verbling.com, a Y Combinator-backed
startup, is a website that people can access globally to speak with
native language speakers living in different countries. For now, only
Spanish and English speakers can access video chat, but the founders
hope to add Arabic, French, Chinese and German — among 10 languages in
total — by the end of the year.
idea of Verbling is to solve one of the biggest problems for language
learners — not being able to practice speaking with natives. People
devote time and money to learning language basics, but slowly lose
linguistic skills without practice.
very difficult to find native speakers without going abroad,” said
Bernstein who speaks English, Swedish, German and Russian. “With
Verbling, you can do that instantaneously. You don’t have to schedule or
waste any time trying to find someone.”
is all about the trade. Convenient prompts with the in-browser video
chats lets users know when to speak in one language and when to switch
to another language. Each language is spoken for five minutes at a time,
making sure both participants get the practice they are looking for.
are matched up automatically. The company currently doesn’t connect
people based on age, gender or location, but may be willing to consider
it in the future. The founders read emails and feedback from all users
and will implement suggestions as the product continues to be developed.
the chat, there are buttons users can use to display conversation
topics for beginners, intermediate learners and advanced speakers. Then
you can “super-like,” “like,” or “dislike” the conversation when it
ends. This will determine who you will be matched up with next time.
Mutual good reviews will prompt users to be linked up for a second or
are automatically matched up with a native speaker. If you speak
English and are looking to practice Spanish, you’ll be connected with
someone from Spain or South America, says Bernstein.