Tag Archives: rosetta stone

Rosetta Stone Vivity Labs acquisition

Rosetta Stone acquires Vivity Labs – Enters the Hot Brain Training Vertical

“We not only want to be the language-learning leader, but the overall leader in online learning.” Steve Swad, CEO Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone just put another present under its Christmas tree. After announcing the acquisition of French competitor TellMeMore last week, Rosetta Stone found itself yet another piece of the puzzle for its planned transformation from language into learning company.

Continue reading

Rosetta Stone Tell Me More

Rosetta Stone acquires French Competitor Tell Me More for $28 million

“The acquisition of Tell Me More is an exciting way to close out what has been a transformative year for Rosetta Stone.” Steve Swad, President and CEO of Rosetta Stone

Indeed. It seems that this year ends with a bang for the language learning market as Rosetta Stone announced the acquisition of its French competitor Tell Me More for $28 million.

Continue reading

EDUKWEST Sunday Review

Sunday Review: Emerge Education Launch, Aakash and Rosetta Stone

Emerge Venture Lab launches its Edtech Accelerator in London

On Thursday the team of Emerge Venture Lab opened the doors to their new edtech accelerator program in London. Located at Level 39, the startup hub at the top of London’s Canary Wharf, Emerge Education is now accepting edtech startups for their first class to start in January 2014.

Besides the usual accelerator package of a £15k living stipend, office space (with a view) at Level 39 and business support, Emerge Education wants to offer a highly specialized set of services to the participating education technology startups.

Continue reading

EDUKWEST Sunday Review

Sunday Review: Learning Feeds, Learning Platforms and Brand Permission to Extend

EDUKWEST Sunday Review

As you have probably noticed, there was no Sunday Review last week due to the preparation of our first EdTech Pitch Battle on Thursday. Therefore, some of the stories are past their official shelf life yet still relevant in my opinion.

remind101 raises $3.5 million – still no business model

remind101 was part of imagineK12’s first batch of startups back in 2011 and already raised a $1 million seed round. I interviewed Brett Kopf, one of the co-founders shortly after the startup left imagineK12 and since then they have attracted 10% of K12 teachers in the US as users who are in contact with over 6 million students and parents.

Like back in 2011 the app is free to use and remind101 is currently more interested in growth than “turning on the revenue” through premium features. One could say this is somewhat a signature strategy by imagineK12, getting a product in as many teachers’ hands as possible to then have a solid basis for negotiations with school districts about paid versions.

Learnist surpasses 1 million users, launches Android app

When I interviewed Farbood Nivi back in January Learnist officially was still a side project inside of Grockit. Now eight months later, the Grockit assets have been sold to Kaplan and Learnist itself is evolving from a Pinterest for Education (something Pinterest itself is now trying to do) into a learning layer on top of the Internet.

In our talk Farb and I touched on the importance of second screens, how people might use their tablet devices to launch in-depth learning experiences while watching content on their TVs. We see something similar with Amazon’s Kindle Fire strategy, with a focus on the entertainment sector obviously, as the X-Ray feature gives you more information on movies and actors.

According to TechCrunch Learnist sees some substantial growth in China. Adding an Android app might further drive the adoption of the platform in developing countries.

Rosetta Stone launches app for preschoolers

In July Rosetta Stone’s CEO Steve Swad stated that customers gave the company a “brand permission to extend” in order to become a learning company. The launch of an application for preschoolers based on the experience and assets that came with the acquisition of Lexia Learning is a first step.

Educational apps for early learners and preschoolers are a hot market, even with more and more critical voices coming up who doubt that handing a tablet to toddlers is the best of ideas. busuu, which just recently celebrated 20 million app downloads, launched language learning apps for young learners earlier this year.

Academia.edu raises $11.1 million

A couple of months after the Berlin-based science and research social network ResearchGate raised $20 million from Bill Gates and others its closest competitor Academia.edu follows suit with a $11.1 million round led by Khosla Ventures, bringing the total funding raised to $17.8 million. According to TechCrunch, Academia.edu has 4.3 million registered users which would be 1 million more than ResearchGate states on its homepage.

Elance University combines learning and assessment with job search

Elance, one of the biggest platforms for freelance job offers, joined forces with SkilledUp and Smarterer to create a hub where digital workers can not only learn new skills but also get assessment and potential job offers.

SkilledUp is a curation platform that currently has 70k courses from over 300 providers in its database. Curation services like this come in pretty handy, especially since the MOOC hype has added lots of new online courses to the Internet. We had another startup in this space pitch at the EdTech Pitch Battle. SkillAcademy out of Egypt came in second place and has 10k courses listed.

Smarterer brings in the assessment part of Elance University. The Boston-based startup is a crowdsourced assessment platform and wants to kill the classic resume through quizzes and tests that show employers the real skills of a candidate.

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone to evolve from Language to Learning Company

Rosetta Stone

Are the days of high priced language learning software over? With Rosetta Stone’s latest acquisition it surely looks as if one of the leading companies in that sector is looking for greener meadows.

The $22.5 million all cash acquisition of Lexia Learning reported by the Wall Street Journal is one indicator that language learning isn’t enough to survive in the long term; the quote

“We are evolving the company from a language company to a learning company,”

by Rosetta Stone’s CEO Steve Swad a second one.

Also, customers already are under the false impression that Rosetta Stone is offering far more learning products than just languages. According to the WSJ a survey showed that people already relate RS to math, reading and music products. Swad stated “To me, it’s just evidence of brand permission to extend.”

Of course the acquisition of Lexia Learning also strengthens Rosetta Stone’s position in the K-12 and global English learning market yet we have to see it as part of a far broader strategy to transform Rosetta Stone into a learning company. From the press release

“This acquisition is another step in the transformation of Rosetta Stone,” said Swad. “We`re moving beyond language; we`re leveraging technology; we`re growing our business in new and meaningful ways. And we`re positioning this company to change the face of learning as we know it.”

I think it is pretty obvious to Swad and the team at Rosetta Stone that the days of high priced boxed (or downloadable) language software are numbered. The acquisition of Livemocha earlier this year and therefore the transition to a cloud based language learning portal was a first step here to compete with similar players like babbel.com and busuu.

All three offer language learning products at a fraction of the price customers need to pay for a Rosetta Stone product. Even the current half price offering Rosetta Stone is promoting on Facebook at $395 looks outlandishly expensive compared with the package prices Livemocha, babbel.com or busuu offer.

Rosetta Stone Promo

And we must not forget Duolingo that is slowly but surely becoming a real threat to the startups that aimed to disrupt Rosetta Stone. Duolingo already offers different languages and mobile applications at no cost to the learner. Duolingo also has studies that show the efficiency of its products and the startup is growing fast. Also, the reviews of people learning with the product I have read so far were fairly positive.

Therefore, it seems to be a good idea to find more lucrative niches as soon as possible. Other verticals are yet pretty much untouched from decreasing prices and Rosetta Stone’s brand and technology might enable the company to build up a new foothold there.


Picture License AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by olivcris

Rosetta Stone Kiosks

Rosetta Stone Kiosks to be closed in Transition to Cloud based Service

Rosetta Stone Kiosks

Rosetta Stone’s CEO Steve Swad is accelerating the company’s transition into a cloud-based learning experience. What used to be one of the marquee items of Rosetta Stone will soon only be a memory: the airport and mall kiosk.

Not even two years ago, under Rosetta Stone’s former CEO Tom Adams, the company invested in new experience kiosks where people could test the software and retail stores targeted at an audience in Hollywood and Capitol Hill. But according to the press release

Rosetta Stone’s kiosks had come to represent a shrinking portion of the company’s overall sales mix, especially as their revenue contribution was eclipsed in 2012 by growth from the web channel and the rising popularity of digital downloads. The company has closed over 100 kiosks since 2011, and by exiting its remaining locations, it sheds a low-margin channel and positions itself to invest in more profitable channels going forward.

With the closure Rosetta Stone is going to let go 245 full and part time sales representatives who worked in the kiosks, following the goal of turning the company into a more nimble and innovative player to compete its smaller however quickly growing competitors babbel.com and busuu.

London-based busuu just shared the news that it has surpassed 30 million users, now adding 40.000 new users per day. It also launched a new iPad application for young Spanish learners. According to TechCrunch busuu shows strong growth in emerging markets like Brazil, Russia and Turkey, markets that are also of high interest for babbel.com which just raised a $10 million Series B round in order to expand its services globally.

With Rosetta Stone’s focus shifting away from physical locations and products and last week’s acquisition of Livemocha this is going to be a very interesting year in the language learning space. Now that Rosetta Stone really goes all in it is certainly getting harder for busuu and babbel.com to keep on grabbing market share.

Of course, Rosetta Stone needs to come up with a compelling low cost alternative of its products, probably using the Livemocha brand, I could imagine them to start by offering a version of their Mobile Companion application branded as Livemocha, likely with less features to make it different from the premium Rosetta Stone products.

Talking about premium products I am pretty sure that with the transition in to the cloud Rosetta Stone’s physical CD-Rom and DVD courses are the next thing that will disappear. Reminiscent of Livemocha’s rivalry with Rosetta Stone, let’s watch Livemocha mocking the emblematic yellow boxes in a 2011 commercial.

Picture by San Diego Shooter

rosetta stone acquires livemocha

Rosetta Stone acquires Livemocha for $8.5 million in Cash

rosetta stone acquires livemocha

The group of Rosetta Stone contenders shrunk to two today. According to a press release Rosetta Stone has acquired Seattle based language learning community Livemocha for $8.5 million in cash.

One could say that this is kind of ironic as Livemocha started out as the rival to the language learning throne always positioning itself as a more innovative, more modern and inexpensive alternative to RS. From the beginning the startup had seen massive growth in terms of users and had also attracted some significant funding over the years. According to GeekWire the total amount was more than $19 million which means that Rosetta Stone got a pretty good deal but Livemocha’s investors surely not.

So what happened? Why is Livemocha sold off for cheap to the company they wanted to replace? At this price it seems that the numbers must have been pretty bad. As I mentioned in my post about babbel.com raising $10 million just last week, Livemocha never got aggressively into the mobile learning space like for instance babbel.com or of course busuu which might have been decisive. To my mind it was an important key factor missing to say the least.

Before busuu and babbel.com launched their mobile applications Livemocha had been dominating the space in terms of users. But that lead was lost in a matter of months after busuu launched its first iPhone apps, followed by babbel.com which also decided to acquire the startup that had created the apps for them.

From what I can tell Livemocha never really recovered from that shift and now it is essentially sold for parts. According to the press release Livemocha’s acquisition is part of Rosetta Stone’s strategy to get its learning products into the cloud. I think it’s about the 16 million users and the possibility to get their own low cost product on the market without cannibalizing their core business of premium products. On the other hand, Rosetta Stone can now directly compete with busuu and babbel.com.

One potential strategy could be to offer Livemocha for free similar to Duolingo and then make the upsell to Rosetta Stone products for those who are really serious about learning languages. As Rosetta Stone Chief Product Officer West Stringfellow says in the press release

“But even more exciting, it gives our customers more choice. Livemocha presents us with a low-cost or even free alternative product to offer learners around the world. It becomes a ‘ladder of learning and value’ for our customers.”

Livemocha’s CEO Michael Schutzler will assist in post-acquisition integration efforts as a senior advisor to Rosetta Stone CEO Swad. Livemocha will remain in Seattle. Below you can read Michael Schutzler’s email that got out to all Livemocha users today.

Dear Livemocha Community Members,

Over the past five years, Livemocha has grown into a supportive, global community of over 16 million members, working together to learn, teach, and practice a new language. The learning experience that each of you creates makes Livemocha effective, meaningful, and fun.

We are passionate about building a world in which every person is fluent in multiple languages, and today, I am thrilled to announce that we have taken the next step towards that goal.

After months of hard work and preparation, Livemocha has agreed to merge with Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stone has built one of the most durable and well-known education brands in the world. They have created powerful technology-based language learning solutions that are the envy of the industry. By combining our strengths, our technologies, and our dedicated focus to serve you well, we will transform the world of learning.

Please rest assured that Livemocha will continue to be the learning experience, product, and community you know and love.  Indeed, Livemocha – in partnership with Rosetta Stone – will now offer more languages, add powerful new tools, and become available on more devices than ever before.  And, thanks to your feedback and the participation and the support of the talented team at Rosetta Stone, we will continue to roll out the brand new product experience that we have been building and testing over the past two years.  Stay tuned for more announcements soon!

We are and always will be committed to building a world without barriers.

Onward!

Michael Schutzler

CEO Livemocha Inc.

This latest development makes it even more clear to me that the freemium model was a bad idea for the language learning space in general. Sure, busuu have managed to build a profitable business based on it but the team also ran a very lean startup, fairly differently to what I have seen from Livemocha over the years.

As I pointed out, now that its rival babbel.com raised a significant round and with Livemocha joining Rosetta Stone it seems to be inevitable for busuu to either raise a Series B round or get acquired. My tip still is that busuu is going to raise a $10 million+ round in the coming months.

Picture by Manuel Faisco via Flickr

ENT Audio Podcast

Ed News Ticker #2 for April 18th 2012 (Audio)

ENT Audio Podcast

Ed News Ticker #2

  • recorded: April 18th 2012
Subscribe to ENT Subscribe to ENT Audio via RSS Subscribe to ENT Audio via iTunes
Podnova Player button Miro Video Player
Download Episode Download Episode Audio

More problems with the Aakash tablet

The Aakash tablet may be facing further delays en route to schools everywhere, as DataWind, lead manufacturer of the device, has sued its Hyderabad-based manufacturing partner, Quad Electronics, for allegedly signing a deal with IIT Jodhpur–the designers of the tablet. IIT Jodhpur and DataWind, collaborators in the early stages of the Aakash project, fell out over the final features on the devices DataWind turned out.

Source: Fast Company


Web based video chat services Tinychat surpasses 20m users – is profitable

Tinychat surpassed 20 million users. Just about a year and a half ago Tinychat only had about one million users. The site currently sees about 400,000 daily users and signs up about 50,000 new users every day. The average user now spends a good 22 minutes on the site per session.

Source: TechCrunch


Microsoft planning web based Skype version?

New Microsoft job listings say that the company is looking for new hires “to help us bring [the] Skype experience on to the Web.” There is not much more information but there have been rumors about this project a couple of months ago, already.

Source: The Verge


Link to your Kickstarter or IndieGoGo project directly from inside a YouTube Video

YouTube creators can now link their videos to projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The company says that these crowd-sourced fundraising platforms were already being used by many YouTube creators, so it wanted to make it easier for those folks to connect their YouTube viewers to their project’s page.

Source: TechCrunch


StaighterLine raises $10 million for online college education platform

StraigherLine offers a low-cost, subscription-based service that allows students to take a variety of accredited, general ed courses online. The round was led by FirstMark Capital, with contributions from City Light Capital and existing investor Chrysalis Ventures, among others. StraighterLine will use its new capital to accelerate its outreach to colleges, employers, and students, and focus on building a viable, next-gen market for credit-bearing, web-based general ed courses.

Source: TechCrunch


Schoology raises $6 million Series B from First Mark Capital

Schoology, an online learning platform that helps teachers organize lessons and collaborate with students, announced a $6 million Series B round of funding led by FirstMark Capital. It supplements the firm’s existing education investments in companies like Knewton, StraighterLine and Lumosity.

Source: Forbes


Coursera launches with $16 million funding

Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng are on leave to launch Coursera, which will offer university classes for free online, in partnership with top schools. Coursera helps support its university partners in creating their own courses, which are listed under each school’s brand. It is backed with $16 million in funding led by John Doerr at Kleiner Perkins and Scott Sandell at NEA. It has no immediate plans to charge for courses or make money in other ways.

Source: All ThingsD


2tor announces securing a $10 million revolving credit line with Comerica Bank

The announcement comes on the heels of the company’s $26 million Series D financing, closed on April 2, 2012. Comerica Bank arranged a $10 million credit facility based on 2tor’s strong industry track record and anticipated growth. The new credit line will provide 2tor the flexibility required to fund its growth and execute on strategic initiatives.

Source: 2tor


Dr. Dalton Conley new Dean of Arts & Sciences at University of the People

UoPeople announced the appointment of Dr. Dalton Conley as Dean of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Conley succeeds Dr. Preetha Ram, who will remain involved with UoPeople as an advisory member of the Arts & Sciences Advisory Committee.

Dr. Conley is currently University Professor and Dean for the Social Sciences at NYU. He is also Adjunct Professor of Community Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and serves as a Senior Advisor to the UN Millennium Project.

Source: UoPeople


Google wants to to inspire Computer Science students with the Computer Science Summer Institute

Google has created the Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI). Up to 60 aspiring computer scientists will be selected to attend one of the all-expenses-paid CSSI sessions at either Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California or Google’s office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Our first session will take place from June 24 – July 12, 2012, while the second will take place from July 22 – August 10, 2012.

Source: Google


Rosetta Stone and Lodi Unified School District Announce Language-Learning Program on the iPad Device

Lodi Unified School District adopted the Rosetta Stone TOTALe Course HD iPad app for second- and third-grade English language learners whose language development had reached a plateau. Lodi Unified School District is utilizing a blended learning model that combines classroom instruction with individualized independent study using the full Rosetta Stone TOTALe® solution, including the TOTALe Course HD application.

Source: BusinessWire


Citeligher partners with Cengage to turn databases into virtual note cards

Citelighter, a browser extension for collecting notes online, is teaming up with Cengage Learning to turn paid research databases such as Questia into a stack of free virtual note cards.
With Citelighter’s first product, students can highlight any text on any web page and click a “capture” button to save it in a virtual notebook.

Source: Mashable


Taliban poison 150 schoolgirls to oppose female education in Afghanistan

About 150 Afghan schoolgirls were poisoned on Tuesday after drinking contaminated water at a high school in the country’s north, officials said, blaming it on conservative radicals opposed to female education. Some of the 150 girls, who suffered from headaches and vomiting, were in critical condition, while others were able to go home after treatment in hospital, the officials said.

Source: Reuters


Study wants to know how valuable users consider their personal information

Researchers at Queen Mary University in London are starting a new project aimed at finding out just how valuable we consider our personal information. The study asks volunteers to download a free Android app, which feeds users basic questions, such as “How are you doing?,” “Where are you?” and “Who are you with?” every day for two weeks. They think these answers will mimic the sort of information data companies are mining from our phones.

Source: Mashable


Study show a significant perception bias of high school math teachers against white girls

A study by two University of Texas sociologists, Catherine Riegle-Crumb and Melissa Humphries, has indicated that high school teachers tend to view white female students as being weaker at math than white male students even when test results indicate similar ability. The study if the first to show a significant perception bias against white girls.

Source: Education News

Play
ENT - The Ed News Ticker

Ed News Ticker #2 for April 18th 2012

ENT - The Ed News Ticker

Subscribe to ENT Subscribe to ENT Video via RSS Subscribe to ENT Audio via RSS
Subscribe to ENT Audio via iTunes
Download Episode Download Episode Video Download Episode Audio

More problems with the Aakash tablet

The Aakash tablet may be facing further delays en route to schools everywhere, as DataWind, lead manufacturer of the device, has sued its Hyderabad-based manufacturing partner, Quad Electronics, for allegedly signing a deal with IIT Jodhpur–the designers of the tablet. IIT Jodhpur and DataWind, collaborators in the early stages of the Aakash project, fell out over the final features on the devices DataWind turned out.

Source: Fast Company


Web based video chat services Tinychat surpasses 20m users – is profitable

Tinychat surpassed 20 million users. Just about a year and a half ago Tinychat only had about one million users. The site currently sees about 400,000 daily users and signs up about 50,000 new users every day. The average user now spends a good 22 minutes on the site per session.

Source: TechCrunch


Microsoft planning web based Skype version?

New Microsoft job listings say that the company is looking for new hires “to help us bring [the] Skype experience on to the Web.” There is not much more information but there have been rumors about this project a couple of months ago, already.

Source: The Verge


Link to your Kickstarter or IndieGoGo project directly from inside a YouTube Video

YouTube creators can now link their videos to projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The company says that these crowd-sourced fundraising platforms were already being used by many YouTube creators, so it wanted to make it easier for those folks to connect their YouTube viewers to their project’s page.

Source: TechCrunch


StaighterLine raises $10 million for online college education platform

StraigherLine offers a low-cost, subscription-based service that allows students to take a variety of accredited, general ed courses online. The round was led by FirstMark Capital, with contributions from City Light Capital and existing investor Chrysalis Ventures, among others. StraighterLine will use its new capital to accelerate its outreach to colleges, employers, and students, and focus on building a viable, next-gen market for credit-bearing, web-based general ed courses.

Source: TechCrunch


Schoology raises $6 million Series B from First Mark Capital

Schoology, an online learning platform that helps teachers organize lessons and collaborate with students, announced a $6 million Series B round of funding led by FirstMark Capital. It supplements the firm’s existing education investments in companies like Knewton, StraighterLine and Lumosity.

Source: Forbes


Coursera launches with $16 million funding

Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng are on leave to launch Coursera, which will offer university classes for free online, in partnership with top schools. Coursera helps support its university partners in creating their own courses, which are listed under each school’s brand. It is backed with $16 million in funding led by John Doerr at Kleiner Perkins and Scott Sandell at NEA. It has no immediate plans to charge for courses or make money in other ways.

Source: All ThingsD


2tor announces securing a $10 million revolving credit line with Comerica Bank

The announcement comes on the heels of the company’s $26 million Series D financing, closed on April 2, 2012. Comerica Bank arranged a $10 million credit facility based on 2tor’s strong industry track record and anticipated growth. The new credit line will provide 2tor the flexibility required to fund its growth and execute on strategic initiatives.

Source: 2tor


Dr. Dalton Conley new Dean of Arts & Sciences at University of the People

UoPeople announced the appointment of Dr. Dalton Conley as Dean of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Conley succeeds Dr. Preetha Ram, who will remain involved with UoPeople as an advisory member of the Arts & Sciences Advisory Committee.

Dr. Conley is currently University Professor and Dean for the Social Sciences at NYU. He is also Adjunct Professor of Community Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and serves as a Senior Advisor to the UN Millennium Project.

Source: UoPeople


Google wants to to inspire Computer Science students with the Computer Science Summer Institute

Google has created the Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI). Up to 60 aspiring computer scientists will be selected to attend one of the all-expenses-paid CSSI sessions at either Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California or Google’s office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Our first session will take place from June 24 – July 12, 2012, while the second will take place from July 22 – August 10, 2012.

Source: Google


Rosetta Stone and Lodi Unified School District Announce Language-Learning Program on the iPad Device

Lodi Unified School District adopted the Rosetta Stone TOTALe Course HD iPad app for second- and third-grade English language learners whose language development had reached a plateau. Lodi Unified School District is utilizing a blended learning model that combines classroom instruction with individualized independent study using the full Rosetta Stone TOTALe® solution, including the TOTALe Course HD application.

Source: BusinessWire


Citeligher partners with Cengage to turn databases into virtual note cards

Citelighter, a browser extension for collecting notes online, is teaming up with Cengage Learning to turn paid research databases such as Questia into a stack of free virtual note cards.
With Citelighter’s first product, students can highlight any text on any web page and click a “capture” button to save it in a virtual notebook.

Source: Mashable


Taliban poison 150 schoolgirls to oppose female education in Afghanistan

About 150 Afghan schoolgirls were poisoned on Tuesday after drinking contaminated water at a high school in the country’s north, officials said, blaming it on conservative radicals opposed to female education. Some of the 150 girls, who suffered from headaches and vomiting, were in critical condition, while others were able to go home after treatment in hospital, the officials said.

Source: Reuters


Study wants to know how valuable users consider their personal information

Researchers at Queen Mary University in London are starting a new project aimed at finding out just how valuable we consider our personal information. The study asks volunteers to download a free Android app, which feeds users basic questions, such as “How are you doing?,” “Where are you?” and “Who are you with?” every day for two weeks. They think these answers will mimic the sort of information data companies are mining from our phones.

Source: Mashable


Study show a significant perception bias of high school math teachers against white girls

A study by two University of Texas sociologists, Catherine Riegle-Crumb and Melissa Humphries, has indicated that high school teachers tend to view white female students as being weaker at math than white male students even when test results indicate similar ability. The study if the first to show a significant perception bias against white girls.

Source: Education News

PlayPlay
Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone has enough Cash to go on for Years

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

Thomas Kelly, a contributor to Seeking Alpha wrote an interesting analysis on Rosetta Stone and why he would suggest to buy shares.

Though their shares have dropped by 67% over the past year and Rosetta Stone is currently trading below book value, Kelly sees enough potential in the company for a turn-around.

At the moment, Rosetta Stone has $111 million in cash plus $60 million in accounts receivable and notably no debt, enough money to enable them to continue to operate at current levels for several years. Compared to Livemocha’s $14 million investments that’s more than 10 times the runway.

Livemocha’s tactic seems to go more and more towards grabbing market share from Rosetta Stone. In an interview with GeekWire Livemocha’s CEO Michael Schutzler points out that the sale of the learning course books at Barnes & Noble and Amazon are going well.

“(The) bulk of Rosetta Stone’s sales that generate actual margin are in retail. Berlitz has been there for decades,” said Schutzler. “Our partners are Merriam Webster … and therefore we think we have a shot at winning in this arena as well.”

Earlier this year, Schutzler took another shot at Rosetta Stone and its ability to deliver Internet based courses, saying

Rosetta Stone would have a “long mountain to climb” in order to compete with Livemocha in online language learning.

As a side note: it still blows my mind that Rosetta Stone isn’t being more aggressive about the fact that the TOTALe product is available on the Internet for over two years now. You can watch my interview with Duane Sider we had back in October 2009 in which we discuss the advantages of the new product that ties in sessions with language tutors and interaction with other learners around the globe, just like Livemocha, busuu, Babbel etc.

Still to this day, everyone is talking about CD-Roms and yellow boxes which is of course great for Livemocha’s strategy.

But back to Thomas Kelly. The major problem for Rosetta Stone was the “screetching halt” of revenue growth as main buyers like the U.S. army and government cut back purchases of the premium products which is also true for consumers who are not willing to spend $500 or more for language learning in a down economy.

Here lies another chance for Livemocha, of course and the startup is pushing into the government and institutional sector as well for quite a while now.

Kelly still believes that Rosetta Stone will be able to streamline the product as the branding is very strong, the product still the best on the market. He suggests to cut back on the sales force which did not perform that well anyway.

I think, Rosetta Stone needs to come out with smaller and therefore more affordable products that can give learners a taste that makes them want to upgrade to the full price $500 version. The high price of the product and the cost of their sales team and marketing efforts pushes them into a niche of the learning market as people who are willing to spent this much on a learning product are a rare species. Having several products would open them new market segments.

Mobile learning applications might be an interesting market segment as the smaller competitors busuu and Babbel seem to get about 50% of their growth from learning apps for smartphones.