LeeRit – Helping Vietnamese students cross English language barrier online

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My recent cultural visit to Ho chi Minh city in Vietnam intrigued me to explore entrepreneurial ecosystem in Vietnam. With 90 million population and growing Vietnam is a happening place in South East Asia. Its enthusiastic people and their determination to survive and evolve after post french colonial era and US war amazed me further. With Price Water house Cooper (PWC) forecast of ~10% GDP growth for next 10 year for Vietnam shows immense start-up opportunities. One of the key area Vietnamese education system is focusing on is English as second language. I found every Vietnamese knows the need of being able to communicate in English is one of the key in getting success and growth for the country. So one can find English language training center all over the Vietnam. I met Trung Phan in Sydney during a conference and while talking to him, I come to know about his company LeeRit. Which is exactly trying to address this key problem area by LeeRit’s technologically advance system. With technical expertise and personal experience in learning English, Trung Phan and his team is trying to  help Vietnamese students cross English language barrier effectively, easily and remotely.

Trung Phan: Phan is a co-founder of LeeRit. He has a strong technology background, and is currently finishing his PhD degree in Computer Science at the National University of Singapore.

Techaloo : What services are you providing?

Trung Phan : My co-founder, Hung Hoang, and I are building LeeRit , a vocabulary learning website for non-native speakers. From our personal experience in learning English, we understand that acquiring an adequate vocabulary is painstaking but vital to the development of all four language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. However, many English learners are having problems expanding their vocabularies because they keep forgetting the words they have encountered. Furthermore, they do not know the correct usage patterns of the words they have learned. Thus, we build LeeRit to help users remember new words faster, and learn vocabulary the correct way.

Techaloo : Are you planning to add more services in near future?

Trung Phan : Our focus at the moment is vocabulary learning. However, in the future, we will look into other areas where we can provide values to our users to help them learn English more effectively.

Techaloo : How is response from your users about your product?

Trung Phan : So far the response has been great. Many users told us that they love the product and it has really helped them expand their vocabularies.

Techaloo : When did you start your journey?

Trung Phan : I started working on LeeRit about a year ago in 2013.

 

Techaloo : How did this Idea come to your mind?

Trung Phan : It was my co-founder, Hung Hoang, who came up with the idea of a vocabulary learning system. The initial system was centered around Word Saver, a Firefox/Chrome extension that allows users to look up any word in any website and save the meaning back to our system for later review. This functionality was personally useful to Hoang because he has always loved to expand his vocabulary by picking up new words that he encountered in news articles.

Techaloo : What was your vision/mission while starting LeeRit?

Trung Phan : We want to help non-native speakers overcome the language barrier by becoming the most innovative language-technology company.

Techaloo : What hurdles did you face while starting?

Trung Phan : The hurdles that we faced in the beginning are quite typical for a startup: getting the feature set “right”, recruiting talent, etc. But we keep a positive attitude because we understand that these things need to be learned from experience.

Techaloo : Currently you are providing services in Vietnam only, are you planning to reach to other Asian countries as well?

Trung Phan : Yes. Since our vocabulary learning system is designed for non-native speakers in general, we will certainly look into adapting it for other Asian markets.

Techaloo : What will be your advice for a new startup?

Trung Phan : I would not call this an “advice”, but I think many aspects of entrepreneurship are best learned by doing. So the sooner you start, the sooner you learn.

Techaloo : What do you think about Techaloo.com?

Trung Phan : I think TechAloo is a good initiative to foster entrepreneurship among the young generation.

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