Colingo was founded in 2011 to break down barriers to personal, social, and economic opportunities by teaching people around the world to speak English. Colingo offers a live, online English school with teacher-led group conversation classes, personalized skills-training and private tutoring. Through its live video classes, Colingo provides a personalized path to English fluency for global professionals who have a basic understanding of English, but lack the confidence and skills to speak in conversational settings. Offered 24 hours a day, Colingo's classes blend authentic conversation about contemporary topics with structured skills training and assessment of over 70 core grammar and pronunciation skills. An average class size of three to five provides an intimate, low-pressure environment where students can gain comfort and confidence while improving core skills and receive feedback.

about the company


Benjamin is the founder of Colingo. He leads product & vision. Benjamin leads the product, vision, and strategy of Colingo. His focus is on education, engineering, design, and operations. Prior to starting Colingo, he co-founded a boutique software development firm, taught himself Spanish traveling through Chile and Argentina, studied neurobiology with a focus on the evolution of language , and taught Spanish to elementary school students. He enjoys biking, welding, and speaking Portuñol. He is a 2007 graduate of Oberlin College.

Lee is the founder and chief businessmen at Colingo. He is Advisor at Angelist since 2013 and later on became a partner as well last 2015. He is with 500 Startups as mentor since 2013. He graduated at University of Pennyslvania.

Colingo in the press

April 3, 2014

Descomplica Lands $5M From Social+Capital, AngelList’s First International Syndicate To Become Brazil’s Go-To Online Classroom

Launched in March of 2011, Descomplica has been on a mission to become the go-to, full-service online classroom for Brazil. This, reiterates Colingo co-founder and Descomplica investor Lee Jacobs, is what sets Descomplica apart from other players in the Latin American education market. What’s more, with over 60 million Facebook users, Brazil is now the third largest market for the social network outside of the U.S. and India. More than 200K students are now using the startup’s SMS-based mobile education services, he added. While the focus of Phase One was content and building its infrastructure, the thrust of Phase Two will be technology and distribution, the Descomplica founder says.

Nov. 23, 2013

Colingo Raises $2.4M in Funding

Colingo, a San Francisco, CA-based platform to learn English with native language teachers, raised $2.4m in funding. Led by Ben Lowenstein, Founder and CEO, Colingo is building a global English school with its online platform featuring group video chat conversation classes, personalized skill training and private tutoring services. The company intends to use the funds to add new people to the team ([email protected]) and increase adoption of its services. Teachers comes from USA, UK, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and India and students from more than 180 countries worldwide. The round was led by Atlas Venture with participation from 500 Startups, Morado Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Havoc Capital and Social Leverage, Khosla Partner Ben Ling, Dogster founder Ted Rheingold and Chegg founder Aayush Phumbhra.

Nov. 20, 2013

Funding Daily: Taffy

Littlebits’s latest funding round was led by True Ventures and Foundry Group and was joined new investors Two Sigma Ventures and Vegas Tech Fund. First Round Capital, Highland Capital Partners, FF Angel, Khosla Ventures, and Forerunner Ventures participated in this round. It got $6.1 million in its first round of funding today to do so. Matrix Partners led this first round of funding, which will support Apartment List’s continued geographical expansion and product development. Box strikes back at Dropbox with $100M round and a $2B valuationCloud storage provider Box is raising a $100 million round, according to a public document filed last month.

Nov. 20, 2013

With $2.4M From Atlas, 500 Startups & More, Colingo’s Live Online School Aspires To Teach The World English

Like clockwork, today brings yet another entrant into the fast-growing and noisy language learning space. Offering live classes 24-hours-a-day, Colingo’s classes aim to blend “authentic conversation about contemporary topics,” Lowenstein says, with a more structured curriculum of skill-training and assessment. Colingo has an uphill battle in front of it just given how many language learning services, apps and platforms are out there. With Livemocha, Babbel, Voxy, MindSnacks, OpenEnglish and Duolingo all having raised multiple millions, Colingo becomes the latest indication that investor interest in language learning continues. The startup wants to create a live, global and digital English school, starting with the launch of its teacher-led, group video chat classes, personalized skill training and private tutoring.

Nov. 19, 2013

500 Startups-Backed Colingo Launches 1-on-1 English Learning Program

Colingo has launched a new program for learning English that offers 1-on-1 personalized training alongside its small group classes. Colingo has been offering Small Private Online Classes (SPOCs) since September 2012, racking up 12,000 hours of group video classes. Learn moreUnlimited group classes are available for a $50 per month subscription, while the Personal Teacher plan runs $150 per month. Students can now add on a 1-on-1 regimen with a dedicated teacher who will personalize a study plan for their needs. The company has also announced completion of a two-tranche $2.4 million round of funding led by Atlas Venture.

July 8, 2012

Hey, That’s Mine! Give It Back! The Fallacy Of The International Clone

Even the archetype of a “true innovator,” Steve Jobs, was famously ‘inspired’ (some think copied) ideas for the mouse after his trip to Xerox PARC early in his career. Genuine innovation requires brand new ideas, and is typically the work of a Stanford dropout (or at least Harvard). Overall, it feels like the anti-clone attitude in the Valley, is borne out of a fear that a clone will out-compete them. Brazil is a hot market with many firms like Accel and the famed Sequoia capital searching for opportunities. Sometimes his alter ego Mr. Lee gives English lessons on Youtube, check out a recent one on “drinking words” here.

Jan. 27, 2012

500 Startups in LATAM

Yet, Fisbhen was keen to make way for 500 Startups and structured a small round in which Gavea Angels and himself invested alongside 500 Startups to avoid dilution. When she started scouting Brazilian startups for 500 Startups’ accelerator, she recommended ContaAzul to McClure, and the company was selected. “We learned constantly while at 500 Startups, from interacting with the team and mentors, but also from other participating startups” Roveda explains. While these two startups came from Spanish-speaking countries, 500 Startups is also very well connected to Brazil, in the person of Bedy Yang (see our previous post). Have you attended or watched 500 Startups‘ latest Demo Day?

Dec. 18, 2011

Building A Company In Brazil; An American Entrepreneur’s Perspective

Over dinner one night in Sao Paulo, several Brazilian entrepreneurs were discussing setting up a company to buy Portugal. In fact, most coddled Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are wimps compared to the Brazilian founders I know. The bubble here has provided Silicon Valley founders with a wealth of resources to help them execute on their dreams. Brazilian entrepreneurs have produced some great companies such as Apontador, Vostu, Bucaspé, Peixe Urbano, Compra3,, to name a few. To be a startup entrepreneur in Brazil you need real balls (not just cod balls).