TALK OF THE TOWN: Memrise, a U.K.-based startup that uses machine learning for language lessons, has raised $15.5 million, TechCrunch reports. Octopus Ventures and Korelya Capital led the Series B round. Avalon Ventures and Balderton Capital, two existing investors, also took part. The company's CEO tells TechCrunch he wants to expand the AI platform, adding more features. He also wants to get a bigger office space.
Apple's first iPhone launched in 2007, decades after the concept of machine learning -- a subset of artificial intelligence (AI) that employs mathematical techniques that "teach" software to make sense of complicated datasets -- rose to prominence. But it was only recently that the two collided. Apple launched Core ML, a framework designed to speed up machine learning tasks, alongside iOS 11 in May 2017. The Cupertino company shipped its first chip purpose-built for AI, the A11 Bionic, in last year's iPhone X. And at the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), it took the wraps off Core ML 2, a new and improved version of Core ML; and Create ML, a GPU-accelerated tool for native AI model training on Macs.
Just as many readers are swapping paperbacks for tablets, many language learners are trading in their textbooks for apps so they can study on the go. One of the most popular language applications on the market is Duolingo, a program that "gamifies" learning by rewarding players with points and new levels after they memorize vocabulary words and grammar points. The app, which has over 170 million users around the world, currently offers over 20 language courses, including Spanish, Vietnamese and Turkish. But Japanese had been notably missing until this week, when it was released on Friday by the Apple store for iOS. Duolingo's landing page for its Japanese course showed that more than 60,000 people signed up to be notified the moment that lessons were finally added.
Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission. Need to familiarize yourself with a local language? Say goodbye to feeling like Google Translate is the only person who understands you, and be the bilingual who makes heads turn. And no, it will not bring back those awful high-school Spanish memories. Whether your only free time is waiting in a coffee line or you have a few minutes on your phone during the day, there is an app that can do the job quickly.
London entrepreneurs have a constructive debate over the relative methods of taking venture capital versus bootstrapping your business. The city's tech scene is at a pivotal moment, continuing to boom even as the country debate's its future in the European Union, a decision which will have huge implications for the future health of the industry. Meanwhile, radical new formats and mediums are starting to be explored in earnest, from artificial intelligence to virtual reality. At Google's annual I/O Extended event in London, Business Insider sat down with a handful of exciting London Android developers and CEOs, from luxury smartphone business Vertu to fast-growing language learning app startup Memrise. We wanted to hear what they're excited -- and worried -- about over the year ahead.