Preply

Online learning platform Preply has raised $35 million of funding, a sum exceeding its cumulative fundraising efforts since 2013.

The round was co-led by Owl Ventures and Full In Partners, with participation from previous investors Point Nine Capital, Hoxton Ventures, as well as EduCapital, All Iron, Diligent Capital and Evli Growth Partners.

Also participating were angel investors Niklas Ostberg, co-founder and chief executive of Delivery Hero; Arthur Kosten, co-founder of Booking.com; Przemyslaw Gacek, co-founder of Grupa Pracuj; and David Helgason, co-founder of Unity Technologies.

Preply was founded in 2012 in Ukraine and is now headquartered in Brighton. Massachusetts. Its platform connects more than 40,000 bookable tutors teaching 50 languages to hundreds of thousands of learners in 180 countries worldwide. 

20% of the company’s learners are studying Spanish, followed by English, French, Arabic and Italian. English remains the second-most popular language of study in the UK, a demand the company said is generated by relocators, expats and foreign students in-market. Preply also teaches sign language and Latin. 

Preply chief executive Kirill Bigai said: “This round represents an exceptional achievement for the entire team following the exciting journey over the past years. This new funding will help us tackle a variety of strategic priorities, as we plan to double our workforce across all divisions and locations. We’ll add more value for both students and tutors by improving support systems and amplifying the classroom and curriculum experience which has proved so valuable already.

“We also have big plans to build out our B2B business, which we expect to become a much larger proportion of our revenues in the coming years. As we secure our leading position in Western Europe and North America, we’ll be diversifying our media and marketing mix to build a globally-recognised brand. I’m personally most excited by the prospect of scaling in promising new markets to really deliver on our mission to shape the future of effective learning”.

Ross Darwin, principal of Owl Ventures, said: “As a firm dedicated to scaling transformative education companies, we are highly optimistic about the online language learning market which is estimated to be worth over $21 billion by 2024. We couldn’t be more excited to invest in Preply and are confident that they’ll capture a big piece of that pie”.

Jessica Davis, co-founder and managing director at Full In Partners, added: “We were impressed with Preply’s differentiated and highly scalable model for language learning. We have spent a decade investing in ed tech and marketplace businesses and Preply really stands out for its strong leadership, high-velocity growth, and greenfield market opportunity.”

Date published: 11 March 2021

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