AI-based writing assistant wants to be more active in Germany

Berlin Affect or effect, correct or correctly: The Grammarly writing assistant improves the spelling and grammar in English texts, but also the writing style and responsiveness − with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). According to the start-up, 30 million people worldwide use the program every day. Companies like Siemens or Zoom rely on Grammarly’s help when it comes to spelling corrections.

While the start-up from San Francisco with Ukrainian roots was almost alone in the field for years, the Cologne-based translation service DeepL, among others, now has a similar additional service up its sleeve. It is also currently unclear how Microsoft’s increased participation in the chat GTP developer Open AI will affect Grammarly’s business.

Grammarly was founded in 2009 by Ukrainians Max Lytvyn, Alex Shevchenko and Dmytro Lider. Six years later, the company introduced a freemium version. “Basic functions are accessible free of charge. Advanced suggestions require a subscription,” explains Timo Mertens, Grammarly’s chief of machine learning. It has been profitable almost from the start.

According to Mertens, the writing assistant uses a combined approach: “On the one hand, we use classic language processing methods that help solve linguistic problems with rules.” On the other hand, the young company works with machine learning models and uses AI to create more texts and variants to be able to process.

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The company has thus succeeded in attracting numerous well-known investors. These include General Catalyst, IVP and Baillie Gifford. Since inception, Grammarly has raised $400 million in venture capital and was valued at approximately $13 billion in its last funding round in 2021.

Regarding its current connections and activities in Ukraine, Grammarly has remained silent citing the safety and well-being of its employees.

The founders advertise donations in a video message on their own website. The company, which is now managed by Brad Hoover, says it has already made five million dollars available.

Why is the offer important?

Much of the business communication takes place in English. Grammarly’s offer is used by native speakers who want to communicate more efficiently – including in the work environment, says Mertens. On the other hand, Grammarly is used by people who have learned the English language and do not feel comfortable writing.

Baillie Gifford’s Peter Singlehurst says: “The increasing importance of written communication and a global workforce means there is an increased need.”

Grammarly Software

According to the company, 30 million people worldwide use the program every day.

(Photo: Grammarly)

The market research institute Gartner emphasizes the relevance. Above all, the offer for business customers can ensure more efficiency in communication and thus save costs. Grammarly’s writing coach is an example of how AI can help in everyday life.

What are the challenges?

These are mainly due to the rapid recent developments in the field of artificial intelligence and potential new offers from the competition. So far, Microsoft has paid little attention to the subject of writing assistance in its Office software. However, given the success of the new Chat GTP version, that could change.

>> Read more here: Online translator DeepL becomes a unicorn

The Windows provider has already announced that chat GTP services will be more heavily integrated. When asked about the possible effects on Grammarly, Mertens is relaxed: “We are enthusiastic about the attention that generative AI technologies are currently receiving.” Microsoft is not the only competitor. Start-ups such as and Writesonic also have writing assistants, at least in part.

What’s next?

Grammarly will initially only focus on English. “We believe that there are still many opportunities for expansion in this direction,” says Mertens. Only last year Grammarly opened an office in Berlin. The capital is an excellent place to recruit specialists in the fields of machine learning, security, cloud infrastructure and product applications. The aim is to expand the presence in Germany.

Every week, the Handelsblatt presents young companies that managers, entrepreneurs and those interested in business should now take a look at. The focus is on the innovation potential, which investors also pay particular attention to. The business models and ideas could also provide new impetus for products and solutions in other sectors.

More: You can find more start-up checks here

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