busuu.com receives €3.5 million investment, moves its headquarters to London and welcomes lastminute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman as board adviser
Co-founded by Austrian, Bernhard Niesner, busuu.com is the world's largest social network for language learning. The company has recently closed a Series A investment round of €3.5 million from PROfounders Capital and private investors. PROfounders Capital investment partner Brent Hoberman – lastminute.com co-founder and serial entrepreneur – will join the start-up's board of advisers.
busuu.com has more than 25 million users in over 200 countries and is growing at a rate of 40,000 new members per day – enough people to fill the seats of London's Olympic stadium in just two days. The company will use the investment to further improve existing products, develop new ones, grow its team and significantly expand its global reach. It has also moved its headquarters from Madrid to London in order to scale up its operations.
“We are thrilled to welcome on board Brent Hoberman and the PROfounders Capital team,” said Bernhard Niesner, busuu.com CEO and co-founder. “Brent's valuable experience in building leading global internet companies will help us achieve our aim of becoming the world leader in language education.”
“We were really impressed by what busuu.com has achieved so far with very few resources,” added PROfounders Capital investment partner Brent Hoberman. “We are looking forward to supporting the company in its future growth plans and shaking up the global language learning market.”
busuu.com plans to further improve its online and mobile language learning courses and develop fresh products for new target segments. In addition, the company will increase the size of its team by accessing London's technology talent pool.
The start-up's existing shareholders include well-known entrepreneurs and business angels such as Johann Hansmann (serial entrepreneur and business angel) and Martin Varsavsky (serial entrepreneur, business angel and founder of Fon).
busuu.com offers 12 audio-visual language courses that include direct interaction with native speakers within its community. The courses are available both online and as mobile apps for Android and iPhone. The company has received several awards and was named 'Best Education Start-Up in Europe' by TechCrunch in 2011.
The social network is experiencing strong growth especially in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia and China, where language learning is not a hobby but a necessity for improving work prospects. According to the British Council, an estimated 1 billion people worldwide are currently learning English.