online language learning
Busuu

Language learning community busuu.com secures first round

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[Spain/Austria] Last week busuu.com closed their first funding round from an undisclosed Austrian serial angel investor.  The total sum is also not clear, but appears to be below €500,000.

Busuu.com is a two year old, online community based language learning startup, launched out of Spain, founded by non-Spaniards, Bernhard Niesner (Austria) and Adrian Hilti (Switzerland).

Last December, busuu.com reached break even. With the new money, busuu.com plans to mainly invest in expanding and improving their platform, including its language offering, mobile apps and of course a marketing push to grow their user base which currently claims 300,000 users, mainly from Spain, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Austria.

The free-to-join language learning community offers users pre-made courses, split into 4 levels – the company recently signed a content partnership with PONS Publishing Group. However, their most attractive feature by far is that users can interact with other native speakers within the Busuu community, this means video chatting and peer-to-peer corrections.

“Every day, more than 10,000 new texts are written and corrected within our community and several hundred live-chats are taking place at the same time.” says Niesner. They’ve also incorporated a gaming aspect in order to create more of an incentive for users to become active participants, both as students and tutors.

The online language learning market is huge, plenty enough for lots of players to pick at.

Some obvious competitors are the US-based livemocha ($14 million in funding) and European Babbel, who run similar online language learning communities.

Busuu.com is trailing Babbel in users, but claims they’ll get there quickly and more so now that Babbel has dropped their freemium offer.

Myngle with a total of €2.1 million in funding is based on a different approach, they are more of a platform for professional teachers to offer courses to students.

  • http://www.kirstenwinkler.com Kirsten Winkler

    Congrats to Bernhard and Adrian. Was about time ;).

  • http://www.myngle.com Egbert

    Congratulations to the Busuu team from the Myngle team. Let us together change the world of language education.

    All the best.

    Egbert van Keulen

  • http://www.edulang.com Michel Nizon

    It’s important to make the difference between communication and information. The only figure that will make the difference in this nascent industry at the end of the day is: How many paid subscribers. Other figures are just “trompe-l’oeil”!

    • http://www.kirstenwinkler.com Kirsten Winkler

      +1 Could not agree more on that!

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  • Pau Serrat

    another really cool site localized and optimized for barcelona is http://www.talkconmigo.com. Facilitating local language exchange is the future!

  • http://www.EnglishOutThere.com Jason West

    Congrats to Busuu! Change is deffo on the way, and Pau’s comment is illuminating. The confluence of online language exchange and offline language exchange and how that might really start to form the language schools of the future is a trend, no doubt.

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  • Mago di OZ

    Congrats. This is a great service, I love it and it has helped my language skills a ton!

  • http://www.italki.com Kevin Chen

    Congratulations to Busuu as well! All the funding going into online language learning is showing how investors are recognizing how much potential there is to really improve education, and widen access through the internet. Congratulations again, and all the best from italki —

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  • http://www.phrasebase.com Jeff

    Come on Marina, throw a bone our way :) Where’s our props? http://www.phrasebase.com is a competitor also, I’ll ping ya when we get funding. Nevertheless, congrats to Busuu, and thank you for the well written and informative post.

  • Ilan Ben Menachem

    Congrats. This is a great service, I love it and it has helped my language skills a ton!

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    […] startups in the space including Livemocha and Babbel. In March of this year, the Spanish company secured its first round of funding, undisclosed but thought to be somewhere below €500,000. CrunchBase Information busuu […]

  • 1214yan

    i like

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