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Type of site
Privately held company
Available inArabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Greg Detre
Ed Cooke
Ben Whately [1]
CEOSteve Toy
LaunchedSeptember 2010
Current statusActive
Chatbot on the Memrise app for iPhone.

Memrise is a British language platform that uses spaced repetition of flashcards to increase the rate of learning.[2] It is based in London, UK.

Memrise offers user-generated content on a wide range of other subjects. The Memrise app has courses in 16 languages and its combinations, while the website has a great many more languages available.[3] As of 2018, the app had 35 million registered users.[4] Memrise has been profitable since late 2016, having a turnover of $4 million monthly.[5]


Memrise was founded by Ed Cooke, a Grand Master of Memory, and Greg Detre, a Princeton neuroscientist specializing in the science of memory and forgetting. The website launched in private beta after winning the Princeton Entrepreneurship Club 2009 TigerLaunch competition.[6]

On 1 October 2012, 100 users were allowed to sign up to test a non-beta version of the website called Memrise 1.0. As of May 2013, a Memrise app has been available for download on both the App Store (iOS)[7] and Google Play.[8]

As of January 2020, the app received $21.8 million of investments in a total of 7 seed rounds.[9]

Spaced repetition[edit]

Memrise makes language studying a game, like its competitor Duolingo. Memrise uses spaced repetition to accelerate language acquisition.[2] Spaced repetition is an evidence-based learning technique that incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent review of previously learned material to exploit the psychological spacing effect.[10] The use of spaced repetition has been shown to increase the rate of memorization.[11]

Although the principle is useful in many contexts, spaced repetition is commonly applied in contexts in which a learner must acquire a large number of items and retain them indefinitely in memory. It is, therefore, well suited for the problem of vocabulary acquisition in the course of second language learning, due to the size of the target language's inventory of open-class words.


In July 2010, Memrise was named as one of the winners of the London Mini-Seedcamp competition.[12] In November 2010, the site was named as one of the finalists for the 2010 TechCrunch Europas Start-up of the Year.[13] In March 2011, it was selected as one of the Techstars Boston startups.[14] In May 2017, Memrise was named as one of Best App winner of the second edition of the Google Play awards.[15]


Starting in late February 2019, Memrise has been the subject of much criticism[citation needed] due to an announcement that user-created content will be moving to a different web-based platform.[16] It was announced that this new website would not have an app and that users would be unable to access their material offline.[17] In response, the Memrise forums were bombarded with posts criticizing this as a slap in the face to Memrise's users and content-creators.[18] This criticism has followed onto Reddit with many users calling for migration to rival platforms.[19] On 25 February 2020, as a response to the criticisms, Memrise decided to undo the split (i.e. closing Decks and merging its content back to the Memrise main site[20]).

In late September 2012, the leaderboard on the website was temporarily suspended due to "extensive cheating". Specific users had been using bots and non-intensive mechanisms, such as celebrity photo memory courses, to achieve atypical scores that were not reflective of actual learning. In response, the administrators established a new leaderboard after revising the scoring loopholes.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ben Whately - founder's story".
  2. ^ a b Shellenbarger, Sue. "Flashcards Get Smarter So You Can, Too". WSJ. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Learn Languages, Grammar & Vocabulary with Memrise - Apps on Google Play". 2018-12-27. Archived from the original on 2018-12-27. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  4. ^ "Memrise raises $15.5M as its AI-based language-learning app passes 35M users".
  5. ^ "The Entrepreneur: Ed Cooke, Memrise". Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  6. ^ "TigerLaunch 2009". Archived from the original on December 23, 2011.
  7. ^ "Learn Languages with Memrise". App Store. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  8. ^ "Learn Languages with Memrise - Spanish, French - Apps on Google Play". Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  9. ^ "Memrise raises $15.5M as its AI-based language-learning app passes 35M users". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  10. ^ "Human Memory: Theory and Practice", Alan D. Baddeley, 1997
  11. ^ Smolen, Paul; Zhang, Yili; Byrne, John H. (25 January 2016). "The right time to learn: mechanisms and optimization of spaced learning". Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 17 (2): 77–88. arXiv:1606.08370. Bibcode:2016arXiv160608370S. doi:10.1038/nrn.2015.18. PMC 5126970. PMID 26806627.
  12. ^ "Mini Seedcamps 2010". Seedcamp. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011.
  13. ^ "The Europas – The Finalists". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  14. ^ "TechStars Boston 2011: Who Got In". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  15. ^ Purnima Kochikar (May 19, 2017). "The winners of the 2017 Google Play Awards are ..." Play | Google Blog.
  16. ^ "Important Update: Upcoming changes to Memrise community-created courses". Memrise. 2019-02-19. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  17. ^ "The Creation of Decks and the Future of Memrise". The Memrise Blog. 2019-02-21. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  18. ^ "Angry about the Decks update? How to make your voices heard". Memrise. 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  19. ^ "r/memrise - RIP Memrise". reddit. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  20. ^ "Important announcement about Decks". Memrise. 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  21. ^ "The irrationality of cheating at gamified learning". Wired UK.

External links[edit]