Preply, a Ukrainian-founded online language learning marketplace that connects tutors to learners, announced that it has raised $50 million (approximately €49.87M) in its Series C round of funding.
The round was led by Silicon Valley-based Owl Ventures, the largest EdTech investor in the world. Existing investors Diligent Capital, Hoxton Ventures, Educapital, Evli Growth Partners, Przemyslaw Gacek, co-founder of Grupa Pracuj, as well as new investors Swisscom Ventures and Orbit Capital have also participated in the fundraise.
Co-founded in 2012 by Dmytro Voloshyn, Kirill Bigai and Serge Lukianov, Preply is an online learning platform that connects more than 40,000 tutors teaching 50 languages to learners in 180 countries worldwide. The platform uses a machine-learning algorithm to efficiently pair tutors with learners anywhere in the world, making smarter connections, and ‘cracking the code of effective language learning’.
Speaking about the capital raised, Co-founder & CEO of Preply, Kirill Bigai, said:
"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. 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 world’s largest live language learning community."
Bigai further added:
"It’s a devastatingly sad day in Ukraine and our thoughts are wholeheartedly with everybody who is affected. From a Preply perspective, two-thirds of our employees are stationed in Barcelona or elsewhere around the world but for our staff based in Ukraine, we have activated our full support where necessary. This includes assistance with moving them to different locations. Their safety is obviously our priority. As a US-registered company, there is no critical impact on our business operations. Our activity is global and all major financial flows and servers are outside of Ukraine."
According to the company, most of the learners skip live teaching as they prefer taking classes before or after work, meaning that there would only be a handful of slots or tutors available at that odd/particular time. This is what the EdTech startup is working towards solving – the “rush hour challenge”.
Headquartered in the US and Europe, Preply has over 400 employees of 58 different nationalities. The startup's employees based in 30 countries across Europe, the US, Africa, Asia and Latin America. It claims that its B2B language learning business has tripled in size over the past year, and boasts Bytedance (Tiktok), Mercedes, and McKinsey among its clients.
The UK is its biggest market in Europe and the country of birth of an important share of English language tutors, which is the most studied subject on Preply. 23 per cent of UK Preply learners are studying English, followed by Spanish (18 per cent), French (10 per cent), Arabic and Italian, the company said in a statement.
Commenting on the latest development, Ross Darwin, Principal, Owl Ventures, said in a statement:
"We’re thrilled to partner with Preply on their next phase of growth. 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 number of people using the Preply app has increased 4X in the past two years, and in several regions, overall users have nearly doubled YoY. Preply claims that the number of students being taught on the platform now exceeds the number of students taught in Ivy League colleges as the platform aims to dominate the expanding online language learning market, which is expected to reach $47B by 2025.
Last year in March, Preply had raised $35 million as a part of its Series B round co-led by Full In Partners and Owl Ventures, an EdTech fund that has backed BYJU’s and Newsela. The company's latest funding brings its total raised to over $100 million (approximately €99.75M)