Reji is a subscription based iPhone/iPad app that helps you learn new vocabulary with correct pronunciation using customizable flashcards. It is the third app from Twopeople Software, a nascent startup specializing in language learning.

Alexey sat down with us to talk about what’s special about Reji, why he and his team decided to develop it, and what they have planned for the coming year.

How did it all start? What made you decide to develop Reji?

Reji LogoReji started as a result of one of our other apps called Mate Translate, a translation app. It has this feature called Phrasebook where you can create custom word lists. Reji is a spin-off of this with additional features added for language learning. We decided to do this because from a marketing perspective, it’s difficult to position a product that’s a translator and a language learning application at the same time. Putting them in two separate apps is simpler and easier for everyone.

What makes Reji stand out from other language learning or flashcard apps? What’s the value proposition?

Concerning language learning apps, I don’t think there’s anything like Reji on the market. Most other language learning apps like Duolingo or Memrise are Reji screenshot 1focused on teaching you basic grammar and vocabulary with no ability to customize anything. The app has a lesson plan for you and you do it. We are targeting advanced language learners whose skill level has grown beyond these apps. Their main need is to brush up on or expand their vocabulary.

If we’re talking about flashcard apps, there are other apps on the market like Anki, but it’s incredibly time-intensive to make your own flashcards–you basically have to fill everything out by yourself. With Reji, all you need to do is type the word that you want to learn and the app will do the rest. It’ll populate the images, GIFs, phonetics, transliterations, and definitions associated with the word giving the user more time to learn. With other apps, it can take almost a day to make 100 flashcards. With Reji, it’ll take around 10 minutes.

Why is what you’re offering important for today?

I think with globalization and migration, it’s very important that we learn each other’s languages. I want to offer people the ability to do that in the best and most effective way. I also think that technologies that can help you learn something or improve yourself are important and if I can provide this solution, you’ll be better and as a result, the world will be better.

Reji ScreenshotWhat made you focus your efforts on language learning?

I’ve always had an interest in languages. I’ve been learning English since a very young age. I’ve also learned German over the years and started to learn some Czech and French. It’s my area of expertise given my personal and professional interests. I’m all about languages.

What milestones would you like to hit in the next year?

One important milestone is to hit 10,000 paying users by the end of this year. Another one is to offer the App on Android. These two markets are different and we’ve focused on Apple because that’s the market we know but we’re well aware of the opportunity with Android. Our current iOS market is around 60,000,000 people. If you add Android to that, it becomes 700,000,000 because of developing countries like India, Vietnam, and Brazil.

Have their been any setbacks or challenges to launching Reji?Reji screenshot 2

We are self-funding everything ourselves so we’re always dealing with a lack of resources. The reason why we’re launching only on iOS is because we lack the resources to launch on iOS and Android at the same time. This also affects our marketing spend which would typically be Facebook ads and other things like that. But these constraints force us to get creative with our marketing efforts so we’re focusing more on growth hacking solutions to spread our message.

How many people are on your team?

There’s 4 of us right now. 3 full-time and one-part time. We’re all working remotely but the hope is that after the launch of Reji, we can get the money to have everyone in the same place. While working remotely has worked and does work, it’ll be nice to not have any time lag or slack lag in conversations.

How hard is it to program an app like Reji? How long did it take to develop the app?

Nowadays, I think with online courses, you can get the basics of App development without having to be a mathematician, a scientist, or a technician. Reji wasn’t that hard to code because we’re not using anything complicated like A.I. or deep learning. It’s mostly a user interface with some interaction with servers. It’s not easy but it takes time. To get the test version up and running, it took us about two months but I should mention that we were working off the code base that we had for Mate Translate. I would say, if you started Reji from scratch, it would take a full-time developer about 5 months. It’s a lot of work.

What impact would you like to see Reji have?

I really want people to be able to learn words more effectively and to be inspired to learn more languages at the same time. If Reji can achieve that then I’m happy.

What’s next for you and your team?

We want to figure out what’s the best business model for Reji. Right now, we’re working off of the assumption that a subscription business model will work. Over the next few months, we’re going to test that theory and find out what works best for us. We’re also looking into some startup accelerators. I feel that we lack some experience in growing products globally. We already handle 500,000 monthly users. We want to be able to handle 50,000,000.

Reji is now available in the Apple App Store.

(Photo credit Lea Fabienne)