A Chicago opera singer and app builder now has the most successful app in Kickstarter history.
Fluent Forever, an app that helps you learn new languages, has now raised more than $332,000 on Kickstarter, making it the most funded app ever launched on the platform. On Monday it passed Flag, an app that turns digital photos into prints that are delivered to your home, as the top Kickstarter app.
Fluent Forever is founded by Gabe Wyner, a former opera singer who began building the app when he realized he needed to learn new languages for work. He launched an earlier version of the app in 2013, and collected more than 20,000 paying users. Wyner also published a book on the topic, which was published by Random House in 2014.
Now, the new version of the app is better and easier to use, Wyner said, and uses a flashcard-style memory game to get you fluent in a host of different languages.
The method Fluent Forever uses, Wyner said, is a tool known as a Spaced Repetition System, which uses digital flashcards to teach vocabulary and grammar. The system knows when you’re likely to forget a word or phrase, and then tests you at the moment right before you forget.
But, as everyone who’s used flashcards in school knows, the process of making flashcards is often more effective than just testing yourself on cards made by someone else. Fluent Forever takes a similar approach by giving you a choice of the words you want to learn, and a choice of pictures you want to associate for each word. This allows you to make the flashcards you’re eventually going to see later on.
Fluent Forever just launched on Kickstarter last week, and Wyner said its success is due to the app’s easy-to-use interface, and the desire of people to learn new languages.
“The idea of passing records is neat. It says something to the extent at which people really care about learning languages,” he said. “People look at this thing and say, wait I can spend X number of dollars and I permanently know Russian forever? That’s worth something to me. That’s a life-altering event.”
The Kickstarter offers several pricing tiers, based on how long the backer wants to use the app. Kickstarter backers can pay $40 for 1 month for a full subscription, or $240 for a lifetime full subscription.
Languages include Spanish, French, German, Russian, Korean, Italian and English, and Wyner plans to add new languages as stretch goals, depending on how well the Kickstarter does.