A Ukrainian startup offering a website to help search for private tutors has entered the Brazilian market. Called Preply, the company announced its new strategy and readiness to support payments from Brazil on Jan. 26, after its website began supporting the Portuguese language and accepting payments in Brazilian reals.
The company says it has already accepted its first transactions from the continent, which were made both with bankcards and via accounts in PayPal, one of the world’s largest Internet payment companies.
The Ukrainian startup serves as a platform to find tutors to teach various languages, including English, German, French, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Arabic, Chinese, and others.
About 16,500 tutors have set up accounts on the platform and, according to Preply’s statistics, helped to connect with about 47,000 students so far.
According to Kirill Bigai, Preply’s CEO, this will help the company gradually start its expansion in the Americas.
The approximately 300 Brazilian tutors who have already registered are a small fraction of the total number of English teachers providing their services on the Ukrainian platform, Bigai said. “But even a moderate level of competition in the local market will enable us to make a qualitative leap forward and build a client base (there) quite fast.”
Preply did not open a new office in the country to which it has expanded, rather it “went the opposite way, inviting an intern from Brazil to the office in Kyiv,” Bigai told the Kyiv Post.
The intern communicates with the website’s users in Portuguese and “prepares reports on the company’s activity in her native language,” he said.
Preply was founded in 2012 by three Ukrainian entrepreneurs – Sergei Lukianov, Dmytro Voloshyn, and Bigai – as a marketplace for private tutoring in Ukraine. Currently, it operates in six countries, including Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan, and now Brazil. Unlike most competitors, the startup offers payment protection and rankings, as well as recommendation algorithms.
“Our tutors offer lessons both on Skype and in person,” Bigai told the Kyiv Post on Sept. 10, 2015. “The market is moving online but right now, local, in-person tutoring represents some 80 percent of all lessons.”
This article first appeared in The Kyiv Post.