Busuu – the language learning community offering largely free audio-visual online courses – has been boostrapping away relentlessly for a few years and only last year raised an Angel round from FON-founder and serial entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky. So while US-based Livemocha spent $14 million in VC getting to around 12 million members, Busuu stuck to its knitting with its free to access platform. It now claims to have more than 25 million users in over 200 countries and says it’s growing at a rate of 40,000 new members per day. That strategy appears to have paid off, as it’s now closed a Series A investment round of €3.5 million from PROfounders Capital and private investors. PROfounders Capital investment partner Brent Hoberman – lastminute.com co-founder and serial entrepreneur – joins the start-up’s board of advisers.
The company will use the investment to hire more people, and recently moved its headquarters from Madrid to London in order to scale up.
Bernhard Niesner, busuu CEO and co-founder says they are seeing strong growth in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia and China, where language learning is not a hobby but needed by people to improve their career prospects. The start-up was founded by Niesner and Adrian Hilti in Madrid in early 2008.
Fun fact: The company is named after the Busuu language of Cameroon which is spoken by only 8 people.