Online Learning Platform Preply Raises $10 Million

By Dan Anderson ● March 30, 2020
  • Online learning company Preply announced it has raised $10 million in funding. These are the details.

Online learning company Preply announced it has raised $10 million in funding, which is double the total raised in the company’s previous rounds. This round of funding will be used for growing the Preply network of 10,000 verified tutors teaching 50 languages to tens of thousands of students in 190 countries worldwide.

This round of funding was led by London-based Hoxton Ventures with participation from European investors Point Nine Capital, All Iron Ventures, The Family, EduCapital, and Diligent Capital. Angel investors Arthur Kosten of Booking.com; Gary Swart, former CEO of Upwork; David Helgason, Founder of Unity technologies; and Daniel Hoffer, Founder of Couchsurfing also joined the round.

Teachers and students have been globally flocking to online language learning as the world is becoming more virtual. And the company witnessed a record number of daily hours booked on the platform this past week. For example, the number of tutors registering on Preply has especially increased in regions such as the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

In some countries, the number of tutor registrations tripled compared to the same period in February. And the number of hours students are booking on the platform has doubled in many parts of the globe.

Preply had launched in 2013 by the Ukrainian-based team of Kirill Bigai (CEO), Serge Lukyanov (Head of Design) and Dmytro Voloshyn (CTO). And the company now employs 125 staff of 25 nationalities in Kyiv and Barcelona with revenues having grown tenfold in the last three years.

Preply’s innovation was to use machine-learning to increase the efficiency of pairing tutors with learners wherever they are in the world thus making smarter connections and cracking the code of effective language learning. And to date, two million classes have been taken with teachers of 160 nationalities.

“The new funding allows us to bring a more in-depth, immersive and convenient experience to both tutors and learners all over the world.  Today, we are laser focused on language learning, but ultimately, I envision a future where anyone can learn anything using Preply,” said Preply CEO Kirill Bigai.

The vast majority of learners are utilizing Preply for professional purposes like moving abroad or to advance their careers. And others are using it recreationally by helping their child learn a new language or indulging a passion to master a new skill.

With Preply, the unparalleled global supply of tutors means that if you’re in Berlin and want to learn Japanese, you can easily find a language expert at a time and price point that’s convenient for you. And this solves the “rush hour challenge” that occurs with live teaching. Most learners prefer taking classes before or after work which means that there is a limited number of slots or tutors available.

The average price of a lesson on Preply is about $15 to $20 per hour. And for tutors, Preply provided a uniquely flexible and secure way to generate income while no longer being limited by locale. Without having to host students at home or waste time traveling, tutors are able to operate at maximum efficiency from anywhere in the world. As education moves increasingly online, many of the company tutors report having developed a new suite of skills, including relying less on body language and adjusting fully to making a human connection online rather than in-person.

With the new funding, the company plans to scale the marketplace, mainly in North America, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK. And there are plans to launch an array of new tools, assessments, and homework. And the funding will also give Preply the opportunity to develop its mobile offering, streamlining the Android and iOS app for making it more efficient and user-friendly.

“Getting to know Kirill and the team at Preply we were most impressed with their tremendous growth already in the US market as well as the size of the global market in online language tutoring. We believe the team has vast opportunity ahead of it, especially in the English-learning segment of the market where Preply already demonstrates market leadership,” explained Rob Kniaz of Hoxton Ventures.