They are altering the grammar of English as a second language and helping 43 million people across the world acquire a major life skill. When Jaipur-based Pranshu and Nishant Patni started Culture Alley in 2012 as a platform for English speakers learning a foreign language, it didn’t take them long to realise learning English was a more urgent need for Hindi or Chinese speakers. Hello English, launched as a mobile-only app in October 2014, used native languages as reference points and quickly gained traction.
There are over a billion people in the world trying to learn English. It is a desperate need - Prashant Patni
Venture funding from Tiger Global, Rajan Anandan and others—a total investment of $6.15 million so far— and working with 40 freelance linguists globally have since helped evolve the app. Users no longer have to blindly follow a curriculum; they consume real-world content, from news to trending videos and stories, delivered to them in a mix of English and their native language, progressively reducing their dependence on the latter. A voice-based engine has been added to get learners to have conversations with virtual friends. The Patnis now work with Wipro, Domino’s Pizza and other companies to train their front-facing workforce, and based on their understanding of the market, are able to recommend jobs for users with various levels of proficiency in English.
Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Public Square
Salman Rushdie, Author | Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Political scientist | Nandan Nilekani, Infosys Chairman | Srinath Raghavan, Historian | Ram Madhav, BJP Leader | Swapan Dasgupta, Political commentator and MP | Shashi Tharoor, Scholar Politician | TCA Raghavan, Historian | Ramachandra Guha, Historian | Brahma Chellaney, Strategic thinker | Uday Shankar, President, 21st Century Fox, Asia | Anantha Chandrakasan, Technologist | Gita Gopinath, Economist | Soumya Swaminathan, Paediatrician and clinical scientist | Prasoon Joshi, Poet and Censor Board chairman | Madhav Khosla, Scholar | Sidharth Luthra, Lawyer | Shayara Bano, Triple Talaq Petitioner | Reuben Abraham, Economic Analyst | Pratima Joshi, Architect | Reetika Khera, Economist | Shamika Ravi, Economist | Sharmila Bhattacharya, Scientist | Vijay Prasad, Historian | Nayanjot Lahiri, Historian | Avani Chaturvedi, Fighter Pilot, IAF | Pranshu and Nishant Patni, Entrepreneurs
Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Soft Power
Virat Kohli, Captain, Indian Cricket Team | Priyanka Chopra, Actor | Jeet Thayil, Author | Anju Dodiya, Artist | Alia Bhatt, Actor | Rajkummar Rao, Actor | Chetan Bhagat, Author | Jahnvi Dameron Nandan, Perfumer | Rupi Kaur, Poet | Parvathy Thiruvothu, Actor | Sujatha Gidla, Author | Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, Architect | Prayaag Akbar, Author | Ruchika Sachdeva, Fashion Designer | Palghat R Ramprasad, Carnatic musician | Unni R, Author | Kunal Kamra, Comedian | Vikas Khanna, Chef and Television Personality | Shoojit Sircar, Filmmaker | Srikanth Kidambi, Badminton Player | CS Santosh, Off-Road Biking Champion | Mayank Austen Soofi, Author and Blogger | Ratish Nanda, Conservation Architect