Live language learning platform Preply secures $70 million to bring AI to human teaching

The US-headquartered online tutoring platform Preply — one of the most famous Ukrainian tech success stories — has raised $70 million from top investors. This is an extension of Preply’s $50 million Series C of last year, combining equity and debt (60% and 40%, the company told TechCrunch). 

The round was led by Horizon Capital, the Ukrainian PE/VC giant through its new fund HCGF IV, which is backed by a bevy of international finance institutions

Other participants in Preply’s round include Reach Capital, a Californian edtech-focused fund, and other previous investors such as Hoxton Ventures and Owl Ventures.

The fresh funding will enable Preply “to extend our leadership in the category through AI-powered human tutors, providing a learning experience which is quickly becoming a game changer,” stated Prep’s co-founder and CEO Kirill Bigai.

According to the company, “while human-led learning will always be at Preply’s core, the company is using AI as an engine to scale learning, improve access and focus on teaching like never before. This is a natural extension of Preply’s DNA in machine learning that it has always used to pair tutors and learners.”

More than 50 languages made available

Preply connects those learning a foreign language to more than 32,000 tutors, using machine learning to achieve the best match. More than 50 languages are offered — from English (16,497 teachers), to Chinese (2,420 teachers), to Arabic (1,797 teachers as of July 2023), to Korean, Hebrew and even Urdu. Other subjects include school and university themes, hobbies and art.

Preply told TechCrunch that the last three years have seen Preply’s sales “grow tenfold” with “a boost in its B2B business on the back of 200 new contracts in the last 12 months.”

Currently the company has some 500 employees of 60 different nationalities across 30 countries worldwide — up from 125 employees three years ago. Preply has offices in Barcelona, Kyiv and New York City. 

From Ukraine to the world

Founded in Kyiv in 2012, Preply launched its business in its native market, Ukraine, and Russian-speaking countries in the region. In 2015, the startup began venturing 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, Preply significantly increased its activities in the US market, which accounted for one-third of its revenues in 2021.

The startup has amassed nearly $193 million in total since its inception, according to data published on CrunchBasePreply’s previous rounds of funding took place in March 2020 ($10 million Series A) and March 2021 ($30 million Series B).

Topics: AI & Big Data, Education technologies, Finance, International, News, Startups, Venture/Private equity
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