Business Expanding ELSA, a U.S. company of AI-based English Language Speech Assistant that helps improve English pronunciation, establishes a Japanese subsidiary in Tokyo

Jan 24, 2023

Founded in San Francisco in 2015, ELSAExternal site: a new window will open. is a U.S. EdTech company that develops a coaching app for English conversation that helps learners build a foundation for listening and speaking English. The unique speech recognition technology based on deep learning enables pronunciation correction through independent, self-paced learning.


  • ICT
  • USA

ELSA is used by about 40 million users in over 100 countries. It instantly analyzes the sounds the learner utters, compares the pronunciation to that of a native speaker, and gives a score as a percentage of how close it is to the correct pronunciation. This allows learners to identify their personal speaking weaknesses such as pronunciation, accent, intonation, fluency, vocabulary, and grammar, and improve them without the need for human, one-on-one, interview-style evaluations. By detecting pronunciation errors at three levels - phoneme, word, and sentence - and encouraging repeated independent practice through real-time feedback, the system not only improves pronunciation, but also improves listening comprehension.

Real-time speech recognition feedback enables the learner to quickly identify and learn the correct pronunciation.

App features 200+ topics, 5,000+ lessons and 26,000+ speaking exercises.

In Japan, ELSA has already been adopted by educational institutions, ranging from primary schools to universities, as well as local governments and businesses. Now that ‘one student, one device’ is becoming more common across Japan, this app acts as a pronunciation coach using natural language processing, which learners listen as many times as they want and are provided with real-time feedback to help them improve, until they get the pronunciation right. Learners can practice making English sounds that are not found in Japanese, which is said to be one of the reasons why English pronunciation is difficult, at their own pace and without having to hesitate to anyone until they gain confidence. From the teacher's perspective, as a learning management system, it visualizes students' learning and progress status, making it easier to give individualized advice and effectively facilitate English learning in and out of the classroom.

The company established ELSA Japan in Tokyo in November 2022. By using technology to assist learners in improving their ability to express themselves in English, with a special focus on pronunciation, the company aims to spark the interest in learning English and provide opportunities for practical English learning in Japan.

Teachers can stay up-to-date on minutes and lessons studied, as well as progress by student, class and department.

To assist with ELSA’s market entry to Japan, JETRO's Invest Japan Business Support Center (IBSC) provided information on the EdTech market in Japan, provided consultation (registration, tax and labor), introduced service providers (recruiting, coworking space and tax accounting firms) and supported searching for business partners/business matching.

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