Preply Raises $35 Million in Series B Funding for Language Learning

By Bruce Harpham Sunday, March 21, 2021

Preply product home page on laptop screen.

Preply, a Ukraine-based startup business focused on language learning, has secured Series B funding. The startup company has seen significant growth over the past year. Unlike Duolingo, another popular language learning app, Preply provides tutors to help people improve their language skills.

The Top Languages on Preply

Learning English is the single most popular language on the business platform. “In 2020, was the most popular language studied (39% of our learners took at least one hour of English), followed by Spanish and French outside the UK,” commented Filippo Gallignani, Chief Marketing Officer at Preply, told Startup Savant in an interview. Beyond those top languages, users are also interested in German, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Japanese.

In total, the company offers language learning resources in more than fifty languages. With several hundred thousand tutors, the language education business has already built a global following with students in one hundred and eighty countries worldwide.

Investors Betting on the Language Business

The language business has attracted significant support from multiple investors. The Series B financing round was co-led by Owl Ventures and Full In Partners. Additional funding came from All Iron, Diligent Capital, Educapital, and Hoxton Ventures. Educapital is a Paris-based venture capital company that mainly funds European companies. The Paris fund has been active in the education industry for years. In 2018, Educaptial invested in Open Digital Education (a startup company offering software to elementary schools). In 2019, the firm invested in 360Learning and DigiSchool (a French startup company that offers free educational content to more than four million members).

The Booming Market for English Language Education

The English language learning market is one of the largest in the world. According to the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, four hundred million people are studying English in China alone. Furthermore, many English language learners are taking advantage of digital education tools. In 2021, Research and Markets reported that the global digital English education market is expected to “grow by $12.38 billion during 2021-2025.” That’s one reason why the online language learning business model tends to emphasize English.

Preply Enters the B2B Market

Language learning for individuals isn’t the only area of focus for the language instruction company. In 2020, the startup business launched its B2B business.

“We already have around 50 company clients using Preply to improve their staff’s language skills,” explained Filippo Gallignani, Chief Marketing Officer at Preply during the interview. The B2B offering includes a curated group of language tutors and progress reporting for the learning and development department at a company.

“Our current corporate clients are typically companies with offices in different countries and/or a vastly international client base. The majority of our growth will still come from B2C. We identified an opportunity in the B2B world with a relatively simple adaptation of our product,” said Gallignani.

The demand for corporate language training in Europe supports a large industry already. According to an industry estimate, the corporate language learning market in Europe grew by 10% in 2020. The language learning industry includes Berlitz (a company that offers instructor-led language learning for adults and children) and Rosetta Stone (a language learning company that serves thousands of business users).

About the Author


Headshot for author 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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