TOP
Promo image courtesy of Nonsense

Why Philo Ventures invested in Nonsense

Promo image courtesy of Nonsense
Promo image courtesy of Nonsense

This story appears in the May issue of Utah Business. Subscribe

In the dynamic landscape of tech startups, one company has caught the attention of investors and language enthusiasts alike: Nonsense. This Utah company, led by CEO Tyler Slater, has developed an AI-powered mobile application that promises to revolutionize language learning by integrating it seamlessly with the entertainment world.

The Nonsense method is simple yet ingenious. It leverages the power of natural language processing, a subset of artificial intelligence, to transform movie audio into interactive educational content. This content gives learners a contextual understanding of each word or expression within a movie scene, making language learning effective and enjoyable.

A combination of factors made Nonsense a no-brainer for us. First, Nonsense aligned well with an investment thesis we were exploring around the potential for AI applications within education. Additionally, we were impressed by the expertise and passion of Nonsense’s founding team — with backgrounds in neuroscience, linguistics and prior successful startup ventures — they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience. Finally, we appreciated that Nonsense is building upon the time-tested practice of language learning through Hollywood content, productizing and enhancing it with cutting-edge technology.

“The company has secured contracts with major Hollywood content studios Lionsgate, Universal Pictures and NBCUniversal, conducted successful alpha testing at prestigious institutions like Harvard University, and launched its beta app to positive reviews.”

The timing is right for Nonsense’s new approach to language learning. The global language learning market is expanding, driven by the increasing demand for language skills in an interconnected world. In 2021, the global market for language learning apps was valued at over $11 billion and continues to grow. Nonsense is a game-changer within this industry, as it addresses the boredom language learners typically experience when utilizing traditional learning methods. Integrating learning with entertainment makes the process exciting and accessible to a broader audience.

As a whole, the Philo Ventures team speaks over 18 languages. Bilingualism and multilingualism offer cognitive, cultural and economic benefits, and we want to empower people to learn a second or third language while watching their favorite entertainment with Nonsense. When learning is enjoyable, retention and comprehension rates experience a significant boost. 

Philo Ventures learned about Nonsense through the 2023 Utah Tech Week pitch competition and subsequently co-invested in the company alongside Connetic Ventures, Convoi Ventures and Pelion Venture Partner’s Tyler Hogge. Since then, Nonsense has achieved several significant and exciting milestones. The company has secured contracts with major Hollywood content studios Lionsgate, Universal Pictures and NBCUniversal, conducted successful alpha testing at prestigious institutions like Harvard University, and launched its beta app to positive reviews. We look forward to supporting the company in their continued success.

The Nonsense team winning the Utah Tech Week Pitch Competition in 2023. | Photo courtesy of Nonsense
The Nonsense team winning the Utah Tech Week Pitch Competition in 2023. | Photo courtesy of Nonsense

Cory Cozzens is a founding partner of Philo Ventures and managing partner of Philo’s venture studio and fund. Cory has spent his career building startups, primarily in aviation and SaaS. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, a JD from the George Mason University School of Law, and a BA in economics from Brigham Young University.