Mistake-fixing start-up Grammarly raises $110m

By Robert Plummer
Business reporter, BBC News

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Grammarly aims to make old-fashioned proofreaders obsolete

There's money to be made from other people's mistakes: $110m (£85m) of it, to be precise.

That's the amount raised in a funding round by Grammarly, a firm that boasts of having what it calls "the world's most accurate online grammar checker".

It has persuaded venture capital firms including General Catalyst, IVP and Spark Capital to support its platform.

The eight-year-old firm, based in San Francisco, offers "mistake-free writing every time" to 6.9 million users.

The start-up was founded in 2009 by Alex Shevchenko and Max Lytvyn.

Its software uses spell-checking, proof-reading and plagiarism detection tools, scanning text for the correct use of more than 250 advanced grammar rules.

But not everyone sees the need for Grammarly. One online reaction posted to the announcement of the firm's venture round was: "I rather learn to write without mistakes than let a program correct it" (perhaps inadvertently proving its usefulness).

On the other hand, Grammarly's efforts provide no guarantee that your prose will be a joy to read.

Its own website contains the sentence: "Enhance your sentences with Grammarly's context-optimized word choice suggestions to instantly improve the readability of your document."

Clearly split infinitives are safe from the software's forensic gaze.

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