EdTech Startup List ESL Global EDUKWEST

Startup List: ESL – Global

[Updated: 12/2015]

Tech solutions for learning English are booming in China, with growth of 23.6 percent in the past five years, and the Middle East, with an estimated market size of $215.7 million by 2018.

Our Startup List: ESL Global gives you access to over 70 edtech startups in the English as Second Language space across the globe.


Each entry is carefully researched and covers the following points (when information is publicly available):

  • Company Name, Website
  • Country, City
  • Founding Date, Founders
  • B2C, B2B, Vertical, Type, Age Group, Language
  • Tech
  • Investment, Investor, Accelerator
  • User / Download numbers
  • CrunchBase / AngelList Profile / LinkedIn Company Page

Key Findings

The 70+ ESL startups we tracked for this list have raised over $577 million in the past 15 years, with TutorGroup ($315m), OpenEnglish ($120m), 51Talk ($65m), Voxy ($18m) and EnglishCentral ($14m) leading the list.

In terms of popularity within ESL we see the verticals of live tutoring, online schools and self paced online courses taking the top spots.

17 ESL startups on this list are located in the USA, 24 in Europe (including Russia and Israel) and 18 in Asia.


What is a Startup List

EDUKWEST Startup Lists exclusively contain startups, companies whose image is one of a digital company, and whose main business, if not exclusively, is generated through their online presence. We therefore exclude traditional businesses from our lists that have added online components to their portfolio as an additional revenue stream but remain focused on their real-life operations.

Startups in our definition are new companies with high future growth potential that are exploring a new area or niche in the education market, and are (often) in search of their business model. They don’t need to be venture funded but can be entirely bootstrapped, or have an “exit” strategy. Startups included in our lists are often, but not exclusively, rather young companies.

Purchasing this Startup List will help you to analyze the most promising markets and verticals for online language learning products worldwide and to evaluate the different market segments within online language learning.

The Startup List comes in Excel format, so you can sort it easily by market segment, investment and other variables or add your own data to it. You also get a glossary, explaining how we define the different verticals in the language learning market.

With this Startup List you will be able to see how startups approach the global ESL market, track down competitors and what they do. In many cases you also get data on how many users the listed language learning startups have today as well as how much venture capital the startups raised.


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Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com.

  • Arkady Zilberman

    In STARTUP LIST: ESL – GLOBAL you write that estimated market size (in China) is $215.7 million by 2018.

    You should check this number since in this link http://bit.ly/1KtLJCj the ELT market is forecast to continue growing at ~13% a year in the major cities and the total for top 7 cities is given as $ 1.6 billion for 2018.