Guys, what took you so long? Joking aside, busuu closed a €3.5 million Series A round and will move its company headquarters to London. Just as I predicted back in July here on EDUKWEST.
According to TechCrunch busuu now has over 25 million users (accounts) in over 200 countries and is growing by 40.000 new signups per day. The funding will be used to grow the team from now 12 to over 30 in the coming months according to The Telegraph.
The round was led by Brent Hoberman’s PROfounders Capital with participation of other private investors. Hoberman, who will join the board of advisers is the founder of Lastminute.com which he sold to Travelocity in 2005 for £577 million. And we all know that travel and language learning go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or in this case clotted cream and scones.
This latest move is just another example of Bernhard Niesner’s and Adrian Hilti’s style of building their startup. Coming back to the beginning of this post it is the exact opposite of what usually happens with startups these days that get a $2 million “seed round” very early on and then raise further rounds after 6 or 12 months. The busuu founders took more than three years to get to this point with just two smaller angel investments over the past couple of years.
Nevertheless, they were able to first slowly then very quickly grow their user base and on top of that reach profitability about two years ago, already. Going into the mobile learning space early has surely helped a lot to gain traction and apparently overtake the much better funded Livemocha though we cannot be 100% sure as the Seattle based language learning startup did not share its user numbers recently.
Furthermore, this Series A round won’t take away much of their shares in the startup, either. It’s a fairly small round which is also split between multiple investors. It seems that it’s just to cover the costs for scaling the team and hence grow the user base of busuu more rapidly as well.
Moving the company to London will ease the process of raising a next round and it also brings the team closer to their publishing partner HarperCollins. Aside from that the UK is doing a lot right now to get start ups on the island. Who knows, maybe busuu will become the savior of language education in the UK by offering their service to the government and department of education? (Take that as my next prediction)
Also, Bernhard now needs to change his complementary close from “Sunny greetings from Madrid” to something that includes rain and fog.
Picture by aigarius