Grammarly’s ongoing success proves that you don’t need mind-blowing tech or bombastic products or marketing campaigns to find profitability in the struggling world of tech.
While the rest of the world is busy developing voice search tech and novel AR and VR implementations, one company has stuck to something less flashy, an underrated aspect of our life that we use every day: writing.
Grammarly is a tech startup that provides software that essentially grammar checks your writing, be it on your social media accounts, Word document, or your emails. Its technology uses AI and machine learning to improve its understanding of a text’s context, providing relevant substitutes to words to improve meaning or syntax.
It’s easy to mistake Grammarly for a run-of-the-mill autocorrect or spellcheck program. In reality, it is much more complex than that. Its experience with its 20 million-plus users has fed Grammarly’s AI massive data over the 10 years it has been active. This data is constantly used to fine tune suggested corrections and to expand the AI’s understanding of context, in turn allowing it to provide better suggestions.
Over the years, Grammarly has taken this core concept and developed its tools to offer a more expansive experience than simply grammar and spellchecking. This past July, it released an update which allowed the software to assess text based on 3 new additional metrics: delivery, correctness and engagement.
Correctness: Eliminates grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Clarity: Makes every sentence concise and easy to follow.
Engagement: Finds vivid words to enliven each and every message.
Delivery: Chooses the right tone and formality level.
Furthermore, it is now able to tailor its suggestions based on the audience type you specify you’re writing for.
“The more Grammarly knows about what you want to accomplish with a piece of writing, the better it can tailor its suggestions to suit your needs,” Grammarly explains, as reported by Tech Crunch. “For example, when you specify the audience you’re writing for, Grammarly will adjust its suggestions to help you focus your writing for that type of reader.”
Last month, Grammarly released a tone detector feature, which – as the name suggests – detects what tone you are conveying when writing. This especially comes in handy when writing sensitive emails to your boss or to a difficult client.
Tech Crunch explains that “in total, the feature can detect 40 different tones, covering a range of emotions from ‘appreciative’ to ‘confident,’ ‘formal,’ ‘informal,’ ‘thoughtful,’ ‘loving’ and ‘sad.’ The feature will kick in once you write more than 120 characters.”
Naturally, many of these features are not available in its free version. The company relies on a freemium business model, where users can get access to more features such as these when they opt for the higher tiers of paid services. Its premium packages are the Grammarly Premium and Grammarly Business, tailored for individuals and teams respectively. Brad Hoover, the CEO of Grammarly, told Tech Crunch this week that like other companies offering freemium, the majority of their users are free ones.
As for Premium, their price tiers are as follows:
This business model seems to working for Grammarly, since unlike most of the Silicon Valley darlings, the startup has been profitable since very early on.
This week, its CEO Brad Hoover announced that the company has completed a $90 million round of funding, led by American venture capital firm General Catalyst, which also led their investment round in 2017. Hoover confirmed to TechCrunch that the funding catapults the company’s valuation to more than $1 billion.
According to tech news site SiliconAngle, Grammarly has raised $200 million in outside capital to date.
Grammarly’s ongoing success proves that you don’t need mind-blowing new tech or bombastic products or marketing campaigns to find profitability in the struggling world of tech. Sometimes, simplicity is best.