A smartphone app that allows people to watch movies in their native languages is gaining buzz in Hollywood.
West Hollywood’s MyLingo announced Thursday it has raised $750,000 in seed funding from unnamed angel investors. As part of the round, Barclay Knapp, the former chief executive of British cable company NTL; Jeremy Zimmer, chief executive of United Talent Agency; and Dennis Miller, president of operations at TV Guide Networks, will join MyLingo as advisors. The attention from these heavyweights comes even before the app has been released.
MyLingo was co-founded by Olenka Polak while a student at Harvard University. She recently left school during her junior year to move to Los Angeles and work on MyLingo full time.
She and her brother, Adam, developed the idea for MyLingo when hosting Polish cousins visiting the United States. They went to a movie, but her relatives were frustrated that they couldn’t follow the plot because of the language barrier.
MyLingo is hoping to solve that problem by providing movie tracks in other languages.
Spanish speakers looking to watch the next “Hunger Games” film, for example, could use the app to rent the Spanish audio track for the movie for a small fee. When they arrive at the movie theater, they turn on the app and it synchronizes its audio with the English audio playing in the theater. They then plug in their headphones and can watch the movie in their native language.
MyLingo relies on a technology called acoustic fingerprinting that uses a phone’s built-in microphone to sync up the foreign language audio track so that it plays at …