Startup snapshot: One Third Stories

One Third Stories

Alex Somervell is a foreign language aficionado and co-founder of One Third Stories. He grew up in Paraguay speaking English and Spanish, before moving to the UK age 17. He studied a few more languages at university, lived in a few more countries and spent some time working in language education at different levels. Together with Jonny, a monolingual British friend and very much product of the British language learning system, they ‘accidentally’ founded One Third Stories to inspire children to love languages.

1) What exactly is One Third Stories?

One Third Stories makes learning a language as easy as reading a children’s story, one that starts in English and ends in a different language. It was originally inspired by ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (pretty standard inspiration for a children’s book I know) when we were at university, but now it’s a fully fledged start-up and hopefully becoming a language learning revolution.

2) What problem does it solve?

Learning foreign languages is compulsory at Key Stage 2 (kids age 7-11), however the majority of primary schools don’t have access to a specialist teacher. This problem is compounded by the fact that solutions at home for parents that don’t speak the language are tutors, which can be expensive and time consuming, programs like Dora the Explorer, which lack educational value, or apps like Duolingo that aren’t really meant for children. One Third Stories combines entertainment and education to make children learn as a consequence of enjoying a story.

3) Who is your target market?

Our target market are parents of children age 6-9. Lots of the parents we’ve been speaking to are people who had an awful language education themselves and are looking for something fun to make sure things turn our differently for their kids.

4) What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

We recently tripled our funding target on Kickstarter to launch our very first book so right now we’re doing lots of work on the story and making our Clockwork Methodology™ even better. Ultimately, the result we really want to see is more children getting excited learning a language as a result of our stories.

5) What will be next for One Third Stories?

We’ve been working on securing partnerships with the Spanish Embassy, the Goethe-Institut and Nottingham University. We want to build on that and work alongside retailers, publishers, and awesome authors going forward so we can really raise the profile of foreign languages.


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