Ukrainian-founded Preply, “the world’s leading brand in live language classes,” raises $50 million

Preply, a Ukrainian-founded online tutoring platform headquartered in Brookline, Massachusetts, has raised $50 million its Series C. The round was led Owl Ventures, a prominent edtech investor based in Silicon Valley, with participation from Preply’s previous investors Diligent Capital (Ukraine), Hoxton Ventures, Educapital, Evli Growth Partners as well as Grupa Pracuj co-founder Przemyslaw Gacek, alongside new investors such as Swisscom Ventures and Orbit Capital.

“I am indescribably proud of what the Preply team has achieved. We have become the world’s leading brand in live language classes and the platform of choice for so many tutors who have decided to teach online,” stated Preply co-founder and CEO Kirill Bigai.

“With the additional funding, we plan to continue growing our footprint in the US and Europe by doubling down on AI-based matching and delivering on our promise to connect the largest live language learning community in the world,” he added.

More than 50 languages available

Preply connects those learning a foreign language to more than 170,000 online teachers, using machine learning to achieve the best match. More than 50 languages are covered — from English (11,272 teachers), to Chinese (2,647 teachers), to Arabic (1,260 teachers as of July 2022), to Korean, Hebrew and even Urdu. Other subjects include school and university themes, hobbies and art.

The number of Preply users has grown fourfold over the last two years: the company now claims more than five million active students. Preply also has corporate customers — including Bytedance (Tiktok), McKinsey and Mercedes — whose number tripled over the past year.

While Preply says the most popular of them earn some $550 every week, tutors must share their revenues with the company. Tutor takes from 18% to 33% of each lesson fee (which ranges from $15 to $25 per hour for English) and 100% of the first lesson, as a remuneration for generating the lead. 

Currently the company has some 400 employees of 58 different nationalities across 30 countries worldwide — up from 125 two years ago. 

From Ukraine to the world

Preply started its business in its native market, Ukraine, and Russian-speaking countries in the region. In 2015, Preply ventured beyond the former Soviet Union. The company went through the TechStars acceleration program in Berlin, and entered the Polish market with a localized version of its website. In 2016, the service was made available to Brazilian users

In 2020, the startup significantly increased its activities in the US market, which accounted for one-third of its revenues in 2021.

The startup has amassed some $100 million in total since its inception in 2012. Preply’s latest rounds of funding took place in March 2020 ($10 million Series A) and March 2021 ($30 million Series B).

  • Supporting Ukraine: Though Preply’s main offices are in the US and Europe, the founders hail from Kyiv. Over the last few months, the company’s global workforce have launched a number of meaningful initiatives to support Ukraine. This includes a ‘Messages to Ukraine’ campaign, translating over 8000 global messages of support into Ukrainian, as well as a free language assistance program for 1000 Ukrainians crossing borders and grappling with a new language. (source: Preply)
Topics: Education technologies, Finance, International, News, Startups, Venture/Private equity
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