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Breaking news! Kyiv-based EdTech startup Preply raises $35M

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Startup Jedi

We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.

Yesterday it was announced that round B of Ukrainian startup Preply raised $35M: this amount is more than all the previous rounds combined. Owl Ventures and Full In Partners led the series, with the participation of several other funds and business angels, including co-founders of large projects (e.g., Arthur Kosten from Booking). Thus, the total amount of investment in the project was $50,5M.

Preply is an online one-on-one language learning platform with a teacher. Launched in 2013, the service uses machine learning to connect tutors with students wherever they are — and that’s its competitive advantage over well-known language learning giants. Before connecting a user with a teacher, the platform’s internal engines evaluate their request on 400 parameters to make sure the selection is as correct as possible. This helps students find tutors who have a similar experience to them, such as a bilingual base that allows them to switch between languages during class, or to find a teacher in a comfortable time zone. Preply supports 50 different languages, including Spanish, English, French and niche languages such as Icelandic, Tibetan and Catalan.

The biggest difference between Preply and its competitors is its learning philosophy. The company believes that learning should happen live and with a native speaker, while their competitor Duolingo assumes that learning can be gamified and independent. According to the project CEO Kirill Bigai, the funding will allow them not only to increase the staff in all departments and regions, but also to improve the support system and the proven value of the training program. He also sees great prospects for platform development in the business segment: the company already offers corporate services.

The investment followed immediately after recent growth in the number of active students and teachers, GMV performance, and total revenue quadrupled across all areas. Also, internal AI mechanisms allowed to increase the time spent by one student on the platform, and at the same time the number of lessons acquired by them. In addition to the growth indicators, investors ‘ interest is due to the global explosion in the field of language learning over the past year, despite the traditional coldness towards the sub-segment of such applications in the field of EdTech.

10 Mar 2021


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