LEELOO: OLEH LANGUAGE AI
BY MATTHEW LEWIS, GVAHIM ALUMNUS AND CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR
Judith Beer-Gabel’s story is a great one. In France, Judith studied to be a lawyer, but got herself into the entertainment industry after University: her first job was to watch, review and acquire TV series. She worked in this industry and the music industry for years, and finally made Aliya last year in 2019. She arrived in Israel already with the idea of founding LEELOO.
Why did you decide to make Aliya?
“I wasn’t happy with my life in France… I had a great career, but it was boring: it felt like it wasn’t going anywhere. My brother had already made Aliya 6 years earlier, and I had visited Israel several times. I knew I needed a new life and a new challenge, so I moved to Israel and founded LEELOO.”
What is LEELOO?
LEELOO, or talk2leeloo.com, is a personalized language coach for professionals that is tailor-made to their needs. It’s a highly conversational way of learning a language, with the use of Artificial Intelligence. The platform is designed to be entertaining, practice-focused, and can be customized to specific industry needs.
How did the idea of LEELOO come along?
“I already had the idea of founding LEELOO in France, and I knew that Israel is a great place to grow a startup!
Mathieu, one of my friends in France, is one of these guys that speaks 9 languages almost effortlessly. We talked a lot, and I asked him how he managed to learn languages so quickly.
Mathieu has a specific “immersive” method: you have to learn useful words that you will need every day, and then watch television in that language, listen to music in that language, and meet people to practice with.
My brother, on the other hand, is a programmer.
Among the three of us, we had all the skills and vision to adapt Mathieu’s method in an app with a bot. And LEELOO was born.”
How has the first year gone for the startup?
“The Gvahim Entrepreneurship Center (GEC) gave us all the tools and knowledge we needed to start, and what we learned helped us receive a Horizon 2020 European grant!
At first, LEELOO was B2C: a lot of effort was spent engaging the whole world. But eventually, we found that B2B was the way forward. Training an Artificial Intelligence bot to engage millions of people requires a lot of work.”
LEELOO is now working and in the pilot phase.
How can you compare working for large corporations to starting your own company?
“I really enjoyed working for large corporations! Being part of a big team and working on large projects was great, but after 12 years, it wasn’t challenging enough for me.
Founding my own company is a big challenge. Motivation is the biggest problem: no one will tell you what to do and when to do it. You need to stay organized with to-do lists, give out the right tasks to the right people and stick to a routine.”
Where do you see LEELOO in the future?
“We have a short, mid, and long term strategy: We aim to find the right partners and grow our customer list, we aim to add new languages and develop in Asia and Israel, and in the long run, we want to launch B2C.”