An EdTech marketplace plans to grow its UK business 10 times over in the next three years after securing £25 million funding.
Preply is an online learning platform connecting more than 40,000 tutors, teaching 50 languages, to hundreds of thousands of learners in 180 countries worldwide.
With student-tutor matches being suggested through a machine-learning algorithm, recommended tutors create customised lesson plans to suit the learner’s budget, schedule, and current knowledge.
Each day, tens of thousands of students take classes from teachers of 160 nationalities.
Founded in 2013 by the Ukrainian-based team of Kirill Bigai, Serge Lukyanov and Dmytro Voloshyn, the company has 250 employees of 36 different nationalities at offices in Kyiv and Barcelona.
There are no plan to open a physical office in the UK, the founders told BusinessCloud. However they said it is a “very important” market for growth for two reasons.
“It’s our biggest market in Europe, and one of the fastest–growing ones in the world for us,” they said.
“It’s also the country of birth of an important share of English language tutors, which is the most studied subject on Preply.”
Though born in the UK, around 50% of those tutors live in a different country with Spain, France, Italy, Thailand and South Africa being popular places of residence. The most active UK tutor in 2020 taught 330 different students on the platform last year.
“As one of our key focus markets, we have very ambitious targets for the UK, where we plan to multiply the size of our business by 10x in the next three years,” the founders added.
The round was co-led by Owl Ventures and Full In Partners, with participation from previous investors Point Nine Capital, Hoxton Ventures, as well as EduCapital, All Iron, Diligent Capital and Evli Growth Partners.
Angel investors Niklas Ostberg, co-founder and CEO of Delivery Hero, Arthur Kosten, co-founder of Booking.com, Przemyslaw Gacek, co-founder of Grupa Pracuj, and David Helgason, co-founder of Unity Technologies are also participants.
This Series B announcement comes on the heels of an exceptional year for Preply with the number of active learners and tutors, GMV and overall revenues quadrupling across the board.
In part, the hypergrowth can be attributed to the trend of e-learning adoption, already in motion and now accelerated by COVID-19 lockdowns.
AI-powered technology has also significantly increased the length of time each learner spends on the platform, resulting in a 16% increase in purchased lessons per student.
CEO Bigai added: “This round represents an exceptional achievement for the entire team following the exciting journey over the past years.
“This new funding will help us tackle a variety of strategic priorities, as we plan to double our workforce across all divisions and locations.
“We’ll add more value for both students and tutors by improving support systems and amplifying the classroom and curriculum experience which has proved so valuable already.
“We also have big plans to build out our B2B business, which we expect to become a much larger proportion of our revenues in the coming years.”