LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Oct. 22, 2012) -
Editors note: There is a photo associated with this press release.
busuu.com, the world's largest social network for language learning, has closed a Series A investment round of EUR3.5 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.
busuu.com is the largest social network for language learning, with more than 25 million users worldwide. The company offers free and premium paid-for access to audio-visual courses for 12 languages: Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and English.
Members can improve their language skills through direct interaction with native speakers within the community via an integrated video-chat application and peer-to-peer text corrections. As a result, every busuu.com user is both a 'student' of a foreign language and also a 'tutor' of their own mother tongue.
The start-up was founded by Bernhard Niesner and Adrian Hilti in Madrid in early 2008. It was an official UNESCO International Year of Languages project in 2008. The website has received several awards including AlwaysOn Global 250 Winner 2009, Language Label 2009 from the European Commission, CeBIT Innovation Award 2010, Red Herring European Winner 2010 and 'Best Education Start-up' at The Europas TechCrunch Awards in 2011.
The company is named after the Busuu language of Cameroon. According to an ethnological study from the 1980s, Busuu is spoken by only 8 people.
About PROfounders Capital
PROfounders Capital is a London-based, early-stage, venture capital firm backed by successful entrepreneurs. With a focus on the digital media and technology space, PROfounders' investors number some of the best-known players within the European Internet space, including Michael Birch (Bebo), Brent Hoberman (lastminute.com), Jonathan Goodwin (Lepe Partners), Peter Dubens (Bet365, Oakley Capital), and 16 other founders. The fund's aim is to invest in and support new businesses with capital plus proactive advice and expertise in order to create long-term value and promote entrepreneurism. PROfounders investments include Tweetdeck (acquired by Twitter), Made.com, onefinestay, and GetYourGuide. www.profounderscapital.com.
About Brent Hoberman
Brent co-founded PROfounders Capital in 2009 - an early stage fund backed by entrepreneurs for digital entrepreneurs. He also founded and is Chairman of mydeco.com and Chairman of made.com. Most recently alongside PROfounders Capital he joined the board of easyCar.com. Prior to mydeco.com, Brent co-founded lastminute.com in April 1998. He was CEO from its inception and the team took the company to profit and gross bookings of over $2bn. lastminute.com acquired 14 businesses after the IPO to supplement the annual growth of the core brand which was over 100% from 1998 - 2004. In 2005 lastminute.com was sold to Sabre for $1.1bn. Brent is on the ICA Council and a Non- Executive Board Director of Guardian Media Group, TalkTalk PLC & Time Out Group. Brent also sits on the Digital Advisory Board, is a Senior Advisor to Lepe Partners, a YGL and a UK Business Trade Ambassador.
To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20121018-busuu800.jpg.
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20121018-busuu300.jpg