The app has been downloaded more than 400,000 times, has a 4.7 out of 5.0 rating on Google Play and is listed in the top five language apps alongside large companies like Duolingo. Incredibly, Montiel built the business in his spare time while working as a senior Android developer for eBay.
“Winning The Pitch is one of the greatest experiences and hopefully this will be one of the key moments together with getting the editors choice on Google Play and the Kickstarter campaign for the iPhone version. Not only because of what it means to win, but in terms of motivation. All of the other contestants were amazing,” said Montiel.
The programme helps users learn by showing them popular books in two languages side by side or playing them as an audiobook. Texts are available in 13 languages, and include everything from fairy tales and novels to science papers.
The Pitch judge Lucy-Rose Walker, CEO of incubator Entrepreneurial Spark, said the quality of the finalists was excellent.
“Beelinguapp deserved to win because they had achieved a great deal of traction in a short time with minimal resources, through bootstrapping and lean testing they had found something people wanted. I felt they would really benefit from what they would get from The Pitch at their stage of growth,” she said.
Peter Harris, operations lead at Propel by Deloitte and 2017 judge echoed Walker’s comments, saying the founders pitching were “simply amazing”.
“Beelinguapp’s founder took us on a story and has achieved so much with so little support. The Pitch is the event for small businesses in the UK. It attracts an incredible following and we loved being a part of that,” Harris said.
The Pitch aims to help startups learn through online content and a free boot camp, which was attended by the top 50 startups from hundreds of entries. The top 15 of those businesses went on to pitch in front of judges like Crowdcube CEO and co-founder Darren Westlake, and Laundrapp founder and CEO Ed Relf.
An honourable mention was given to vegan and fair trade condom brand Hanx, which has gained significant traction for its female-targeted product since it launched earlier this year.