Rosetta Stone Buys Up Online Language Learning Community Livemocha For $8.5M In Cash

Rosetta Stone has just acquired Seattle-based online language-learning community Livemocha for $8.5 million in cash. Livemocha has one of the largest online language-learning communities in the world, boasting over 16 million members from over 195 different countries.

Rosetta Stone will likely use Livemocha’s cloud platform to offer its language packages online — they were once only available via disc set, with a complimentary iPad app.

Here’s what Rosetta Stone CEO and President Steve Swad had to say about it:

We are in the process of transforming Rosetta Stone to be the most dynamic and ubiquitous technology-based learning platform in the world. Our acquisition of Livemocha will help accelerate that transformation. With Livemocha and its vibrant online community on our side, Rosetta Stone will reach more people and change more lives than ever before.

Livemocha will remain in its Seattle-based offices, adding yet another arm to Rosetta Stone’s US presence which currently includes offices in Austin, TX and San Francisco.

According to the release, this acquisition will allow Rosetta Stone to “quickly migrate legacy products to a future-proof technology stack witha modern, cloud-based architecture and contemporary means of distribution.” That could very well mean low-cost or “even free” alternatives to the usually expensive Rosetta Stone packages.

Rosetta Stone also expects the Livemocha acquisition to help accelerate geographic expansion, as Livemocha’s community is quite global and has a high concentration of users in China, Russia and South America.

It’s worth noting that Livemocha has raised a total of $19 million over the course of its existence the past six years. While an acquisition is almost always good news, the company clearly exited for less than it accrued from institutional investors the past six years — and even less than the expected valuation from previous funding rounds.