- The language learning market Preply has raised $ 10 million in funding as demand for language learners surged by 50% during the COVID-19 lock-in period.
- Prepare to pair anyone who wants to improve their language skills with the relevant tutor, arrange classes and provide virtual classrooms.
- Chief Executive Kirill Bigai said demand from countries with longer lock-up periods has surged, and Italian bookings have tripled since February.
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European language learning platform Preply has raised $ 10 million in funding and said that as more countries enter the lock-in period, demand for courses has doubled.
The round was led by London-based Hoxton Ventures, Point Nine Capital, The Family and angel supporters including Unity founder David Helgason, Booking founder Arthur Kosten and Couchsurfing founder Daniel Hoffen.
Preply is a marketplace where students who want to improve their language skills are paired with tutors who can provide tutoring through "virtual classrooms," including Preply's video platform and other learning tools. Its target audience is professionals over the age of 25 who want to improve their working language, although some parents use the platform to help their children learn a new language.
The timing of its funding was lucky. The startup, which is rooted in Ukraine and has offices in Kiev and Barcelona, closed financing in January just before the COVID-19 crisis struck and cut start-up valuations and funding.
"We didn't have a coronavirus at the time," CEO Kirill Bigai told Business Insider. "The process went smoothly and we are happy with the investors we have."
It looks like investors are lucky. Although education has been a promising growth area for the European technology industry, the nationwide blockade has led to a proliferation of platforms offering online learning.
Preply said tutoring time has doubled between mid-February and mid-March, and in Italy, it has been locked in three times since early March. Its site traffic has surged 50% globally and the number of mentors has grown 80%.
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