Popular language-learning platform Busuu has announced that it has acquired the live video tutoring company Verbling as part of a double-digit million dollar acquisition.
Busuu recently surpassed 100 million users globally, acquiring one new user every three seconds. The company, which reached cash flow break-even last year, plans to generate over $40 million in revenues in 2020, eyeing to go public in the future.
Verbling was founded in San Francisco in 2011 by Swedish co-founders, CEO Mikael Bernstein and CTO Gustav Rydstedt.
“Offering live video tutoring… is a natural progression for our business”
After attending the Y-Combinator program, Verbling raised over US$4.4million from investors such as Learn Capital, DFJ and Bullpen Capital.
The platform has over 10,000 pre-vetted live teachers and offers interactive 1-1 lessons in nearly 60 different languages.
Bernhard Niesner, co-founder and CEO of Busuu, Bernhard Niesner, said that no matter how smart technology becomes, language will always be about human interaction.
“[This] is exactly why Busuu was built around a learning community,” he said.
“Offering live video tutoring through our acquisition of Verbling is a natural progression for our business, and gives us the potential to expand beyond just language learning in the future.”
“We are very excited to be joining forces with Busuu’s talented and experienced team,” added Bernstein of Verbling. “Combining our world-class tutors with Busuu’s AI-powered platform will enable language learners across the globe to reach proficiency even faster.”
Following the acquisition, Verbling’s team members, including Bernstein and Rydstedt, will join Busuu.
In addition to its expanded team, Busuu will also open a new office in Madrid, where the company was initially founded in 2008 before moving its headquarters to London in 2012.
Busuu will launch Busuu Live using Verbling’s platform, which will be made available to the company’s 100 million consumer users and 200+ corporate clients in the coming months.
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The proliferation of online language tutoring sites suggests it is time now to conduct a full survey of quality standards in the industry. A major concern for the consumer, of course, will be how adequately tutors are selected for their qualifications and skills. One measure is how much they are paid. Tutors are very often being offered rates much below that of the traditional marketplace, which begs the question whether those accepting employment are capable of delivering the expected services and results.