Our history

The story of Lingu started in the non-profit organization 'KIA', which works with integration and Norwegian education. The founders Edward Milsom and Odd Bjerga worked in this organization and came into contact with talented and resourceful people from many different countries.

The idea of Lingu arose in this context of mobility, language and human talents.

Founder Odd Bjerga

Odd Bjerga CEO · Lingu

  • 2008

    company founded

  • 1015

    active students now

  • 4,567

    students last year

  • 23,230

    classes taught last year

16 years with Lingu

Lingu is celebrating 16 years in business in 2024. Here is a short timeline with our most important milestones on the road, to where we stand today.

 

2008

Hello, World!

December 16, 2008 - On this very day, we launched our website lingu.no with our slogan ‘Expand your horizons’, while the world suffered through a financial recession.

2009

First Customer

2 January 2009 - Our very first customer purchased an English course with Lingu. Thank you for trusting us!

2010

Eurovision Fever

July 2010 - First commercial on the radio, with a theme related to Eurovision fever of Oslo 2010. This ad resulted in 200 course participants in various languages such as English, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Persian.
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2011

Accreditation

July 2011 - After we got the approval from government, we launched what is still our flagship product today; Fast-track Norwegian Course (these days available as online version)

2012

First edtech project

January 2012 - We built our very first course management system called «Lingu OS», and we launched our first online course with live video conference.

2013

Lingu Stavanger

August 2013 - Lingu Stavanger opened its doors with full courses at all levels. 92 students lined up for their first course in our new course centre.

2014

Social Studies Online Course

June 2014 - Launched our first course subsized by Norwegian government under the Kompetansepluss Arbeid workplace education program.
September 2014 - Our first 50 hours of Social Studies Online Course with 84 students pre-registered. Since then, several thousand people took the course and rated it 5 out of 5 stars!

2015

Trademark

March 2015 - Lingu became a protected trademark in language education.
August 2015 - Launched our Simply Online Norwegian Course with drop-in classes, e-learning and individual tutoring, allowing students all over the world to use our services flexibly and successfully learn with us.

2016

Norskbloggen

August 2016 - Launched our norskbloggen.no Our Norwegian blog today has well over 20,000 readers every month.

2017

Reinvented Online Courses

January 2017 - With the goal making learning Norwegian more flexible, we changed the traditional course registation and payment system to today's philosophy start anytime with nice and easy monthly payments.

Lingu Bergen

November 2017 - We opened our first offices in Bergen.

2018

Yrkesnorsk

September 2018 - Partnered with Allservice in Stavanger, we took over the course «Norskopplæring med yrkespraksis» for NAV Tiltak Rogaland. The course combined intensive Norwegian language training with a period of language practice in a local company.
 

2019

Merger and podcast

January 2019 - International Language School (ILS) merged with Lingu in January 2019. ILS brought in partner, Anne Tufte, and a large customer list, with well-known names such as the Skatteetaten, DNB and Oljefondet.
August 2019 - Acquired the domain ‘lingu.com’. This milestone set the company on a new trajectory; towards global markets.
November 2019 - Launched our podcast Norskpodden which has grown in popularity and has frequently been listed as #1 in language learning podcasts in Norway.

2020

Covid-19 and Edtech

March 2020 - Covid-19 hit the world and Lingu decided to close our course centers. This was second nature for us considering our many years of experience of online teaching which we had that time already.

October 2020 - Lingu received NOK 10 million from the Norwegian government to develop new, digital forms of learning and make these available to adult education centers in Norway, giving birth to ‘Samanehs Reise’.

2021

Lingu Haugesund

February 2021 - With a new contract for NAV, Lingu opens new premises in the Kompetansehuset in Haugesund.

2022

Selena’s Anatomy

Month, 2022 - Lingu launched the ‘Norwegian for Health Professionals’ online course and the teaching materials ‘Selenas Anatomi’.

August, 2022 - Lingu won more contracts with the public sector and opens a new course center in Arendal.

2023

Entering the age of AI

June 2023 - Following the AI revolution, our Edtech team launches the new AI based learning tool Skrivehjelpen, allowing our students to receive instant feedback on their writing. The course materials were developed with funding from Norwegian government.

Since the early days as a startup, Lingu has bootstrapped into becoming the leading language training provider in Norway. Lingu is today both an edtech company and a language school. Our team of one hundred people are working hard to create unique learning experiences.

Leadership

The company's management consists of an innovative and curious crew with a long experience in adult education and with a heart for language, technology and education. As a caring business, we want to offer engaging, digital solutions for our users, as well as facilitate personal development for the people we work with.

Business idea

By linking talent, technology and pedagogy, we can create products and services that enable communication and interaction across language barriers. Our products and services will expand people's horizons and create both new career opportunities and sustainability in a diverse world.