Preply, an online language learning marketplace connecting tutors to hundreds of thousands of learners in 180 countries worldwide, has recently announced that it has raised $70 million (approximately €62.4M) in equity and debt, bringing its Series C round to $120 million. The funding round was led by Horizon Capital, with participation from Reach Capital, Hoxton Ventures and other existing investors.
Co-founded by Dmytro Voloshyn, Kirill Bigai, and Serge Lukianov in 2012, Preply aims to shape the future of effective learning. The platform uses a machine learning algorithm to efficiently pair tutors with learners worldwide, making more innovative connections and ‘cracking the code of effective language learning’. The company has grown from a team of 3 to almost 500 employees of 60 nationalities. With offices in Barcelona, New York, and Kyiv, its employees work across 30 countries in Europe, USA, Africa, Asia and Latin America. It claims more than 35,000 tutors teach over 50 languages.
Commenting on the investment, Co-founder & CEO of Preply, Kirill Bigai, said:
It’s a great achievement to have secured this capital injection while we still have plenty of runways and the majority of the previous raise in the bank; a result of rigorous capital efficiency and a laser focus on performance. The additional funds will enable us to extend our leadership in the category through AI-powered human tutors, providing a learning experience quickly becoming a game changer.
Though the team today is truly global, as a Ukrainian-founded company with significant R&D in Ukraine, this is a milestone to be celebrated. One that echoes the resilience and determination of the Ukrainian tech sector and all Ukrainians.
Preply is used by companies such as Datadog, GroupM and Bain to drive improvements in their teams’ communication skills, increasing employee confidence levels and productivity. The firm has recently partnered with language authority ETS (Education Testing Service) to deliver a personalized preparation experience for the TOEFL iBT®, a measure of English proficiency used by over 11,500 institutions worldwide.
While human-led learning will always be at its core, the startup is using AI as an engine to scale learning, improve access and focus on teaching like never before. It has launched a teaching assistant to enable tutors to create a variety of exercises, grammar explanations, conversation starters and more. Tutors use this AI tool during and between classes to support homework setting and lesson planning. Additionally, Preply actively analyzes student performance and learning patterns data to identify areas where students struggle. The objective is to develop personalized lesson plans and summaries that address a learner’s individual needs and share insights with the tutor community on the best lessons and learning outcomes.
Lenna Koszarny, Founding Partner & CEO of Horizon Capital, commented:
We are excited to partner with Preply’s exceptional founders and superb leadership team in delivering on their mission of unlocking human potential through learning. Preply fits perfectly into our investment thesis of backing Ukraine’s new generation of visionary entrepreneurs while paving the way for others inspired to create their global champion powered from Ukraine that the entire nation can take pride in. We believe the best is yet to come. We are delighted that our capital will fuel future R&D, driving growth and high impact by creating jobs, promoting entrepreneurship, supporting tech sector development, and contributing to Ukraine’s ongoing economic resilience.
Dmytro Boroday, Partner, Horizon Capital, said:
I first met Kirill in 2012 at the start of Preply’s journey, beginning from a 10-page Powerpoint presentation and now a world-class educational technology company fueled by bold vision and unwavering determination. Kirill, Dmytro, and Serge have executed meticulously on their vision, and a decade after our first meeting, we are proud to back Preply as a leading global edtech platform in the language learning space. We look forward to our long-term partnership resulting in Preply reaching new heights, grounded in its strong culture of operational excellence and superb performance.
With this fundraising, the Ukrainian-founded company plans to extend its leadership in the category through AI-powered human tutors providing a learning experience.
The latest investment comes a year after Preply raised €49.87 million in a Series C round led by Silicon Valley-based Owl Ventures in July 2022. To date, the company has raised $170 million in funding.