Preply, the Language Learning Platform, Raises $70 Million for AI Expansion
Preply, a language learning platform known for connecting learners with human tutors, has successfully raised $70 million in fresh capital to further integrate artificial intelligence into its services. The company, which was founded in Ukraine but now operates from the United States, disclosed this information exclusively to CNBC. Notable Ukrainian entrepreneurs, Kirill Bigai, Dmytro Voloshyn, and Serge Lukianov, are among the founders of Preply.
Funding Led by Horizon Capital with Support from Prominent Venture Capital Firms
The latest funding round was led by Horizon Capital, a venture capital firm with a strong focus on investing in emerging Ukrainian entrepreneurs. Additionally, Reach Capital and Hoxton Ventures, among others, also backed the equity portion. The recent funding adds to the $50 million Series C funding Preply secured the previous year, bringing its total raised funds to over $170 million.
Preply’s Innovative Marketplace Platform and Expanding Clientele
Preply operates as a marketplace platform that connects learners with human tutors for language learning. Tutors create profiles with hourly rates, and Preply earns a percentage from the tutors’ charges. The platform also caters to large enterprises such as Datadog, GroupM, and Bain, helping them improve their teams’ foreign language skills. Despite being yet to turn profitable, Preply witnessed a remarkable tenfold increase in revenues over the past three years.
Pioneering AI-Powered Learning Experience
With the newly acquired funding, Preply aims to cement its leadership in the online language learning category by leveraging AI-powered human tutors. The company envisions providing learners with a transformative learning experience through the integration of AI technology. Preply’s CEO, Kirill Bigai, expressed pride in the Ukrainian tech sector’s resilience and determination, as Preply’s roots lie in Ukraine, with significant research and development conducted in the country.
Growing Interest in AI and Ukrainian Tech Investors
While the current startup fundraising climate faces challenges, AI remains an exception, with increasing demand for AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Many startups are securing substantial investments as venture capitalists seek companies poised to capitalize on the AI wave. Preply, for its part, has already implemented machine learning for improved tutor-learner matching and has introduced an AI assistant to help tutors create exercises, grammar explanations, and conversation starters.
Thriving Tech Scene and Ukrainian Unicorn Founders
The article also highlights the ongoing interest of tech investors in Ukraine, despite geopolitical challenges resulting from Russia’s invasion of the country. Prominent Ukrainian founders, including Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko of Grammarly, and Dmitriy Zaporozhets of GitLab, have already achieved unicorn status with billion-dollar companies. Global tech giants like Google, Samsung, and Amazon have also established research and development centers in Ukraine, showcasing the country’s promising tech landscape.