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Language specialist Preply raises $50m

Language tutoring specialist Preply has raised $50 million in Series C funding as it looks to gain a stronger foothold in the US and Europe.

The Preply team includes over 400 employees of 58 different nationalities across 30 countries worldwide, including Spain (above). Photo: Preply

In the past two years, the number of users has grown by four times

With a $35 Series B funding round on top of a $10m funding announcement in 2020, together with previous backing, the Ukrainian-founded company has amassed more than $100m in investment since inception in 2012.

“With the additional funding, we plan to continue growing our footprint in the US and Europe by doubling down on AI-based matching and delivering on our promise to connect the largest live language learning community in the world,” said Kirill Bigai, co-founder and CEO of Preply.

Owl Ventures – which led previous rounds, as well as being an investor in English learning platform Novakid, study abroad company Leap, virtual lab simulation company Labster and more – led the Series C round. New backers Swisscom Ventures and Orbit Capital joined previous investors Diligent Capital, Hoxton Ventures, Educapital, Evli Growth Partners, Przemyslaw Gacek, co-founder of Grupa Pracuj.

With more than 32,000 tutors teaching over 50 languages, the learning marketplace has tripled its B2B language learning business in the last 12 months. It now counts Bytedance (Tiktok), Mercedes and McKinsey among its clients.

In the past two years, the number of users has also grown by four times.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Preply on their next phase of growth,” Ross Darwin, principal at Owl Ventures said. “We’re particularly excited by the continued momentum of the consumer business as well as its new language learning offering for companies, increasingly reliant on international workforces.”

The online language learning market is set to reach $47 billion by 2025, Preply added.

Co-founder Kirill Bigai is from Kiev in Ukraine. Photo: Preply

While the company’s main offices are in US and Europe, its founders – Bigai, along with Dmytro Voloshyn and Serge Lukyanov – hail from Kiev, Ukraine.

This year, its ‘Messages to Ukraine‘ initiative has seen more than 8,000 global messages of support translated into Ukrainian, and 1,000 Ukrainians fleeing the country have benefitted from a free language assistance program.

“I am indescribably proud of what the Preply team has achieved,” Bigai added.

“We have become the world’s leading brand in live language classes and the platform of choice for so many tutors who have decided to teach online.”

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