English Tutoring Startup Ringle Raises Series A Funding

A laptop, a stack of language books, and a globe.

There’s nothing like one on one tutoring to learn a language. That’s the bet that Ringle, an English language tutoring startup company, has made. Investors see merit in the edtech business model to the tune of $8.9 million in Series A funding. According to investor Must Asset Investment, Ringle has an estimated valuation of $89 million. Must Asset Investment acted as the lead investor in the Series A funding round.

How the Startup Helps Language Learners

Ringle is different from other companies in the language learning business. Instead of offering app-based lessons like Duolingo, the startup business pairs up students with language tutors. To meet demand, the company has a network of six hundred tutors and more than three hundred digital textbooks for students to use. The edtech startup combines one-on-one video tutoring and artificial intelligence (AI) feedback to support students.

Students can choose to work with tutors by area of expertise such as business, engineering, medical, consulting, marketing, and sales. Also, the company offers students guidance in preparing for exams, writing emails, and English pronunciation assistance.

Recruiting and Retaining English Tutors

To compete in the crowded language learning market, the edtech company recruits tutors who have graduated from well-known universities. In the United States (US), the company seeks out tutors who have graduated from Stanford, Harvard, and Berkeley. The business also recruits from the United Kingdom (UK).

As of 2019, all new tutors teaching through Ringle receive an initial pay rate of $15 per hour. The educational company pays higher rates, up to $19 per hour, for successful tutors. However, the edtech startup may face retention challenges in the future. PayScale reports that the average English language tutor reports earning $20 per hour, with some reporting earning more than $40 per hour at the high end of the range.

Rather than focus on professional teachers, the language learning company seeks out tutors in different fields. According to the Ringle website, English tutors work at companies such as Amazon, Bank of America, Deloitte, Dell, Microsoft, Nike, and LG.

Pandemic Fuels Demand for Learning

A broader hunger for online learning partially drives Ringle’s success as an edtech business during the pandemic. “We saw a 15-fold, not 15%, a 15-fold increase in the number of new learners registering on edX during the month of April 2020,” founder and CEO of online learning platform edX, Anant Agarwal, told CNBC. edX is a non-profit organization that offers courses in business, management, computer science, and other subjects from institutions like MIT and Harvard.

Duolingo, a language learning app, reached 42 million monthly active users by September 2020 (up from 30 million users in December 2019). After pandemic era restrictions ease, online education companies are likely to face greater competition from offline competitors like traditional schools.

How Ringle Packages Tutoring Services

The startup business uses a package pricing structure to encourage customers to buy more tutoring services. The entry-level language learning package includes a set of three 20-minute lessons to be used over thirty days for a promotional price of $50.90. At the high end, the company offers a package of 148 lessons for more than $2,000. In addition, the company also offers a free trial lesson to new customers.

Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book, “Project Managers At Work,” shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.

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