Busuu, a social network for mobile language learning, has announced that it has raised in its Series B round of investment $6.7 million from McGraw-Hill Education. McGraw-Hill, apart from acquiring an undisclosed amount of equity, will also have exclusive global rights to deploy busuu to its own clients such as schools, private language institutions and organizations. Bernhard Niesner, CEO of busuu, said:
“[I am] especially excited to explore adding McGraw-Hill Education’s adaptive capabilities to our platform and believe this will revolutionize the way people learn languages.”
“We see tremendous opportunities with the powerful combination McGraw-Hill Education’s global reach and the scale and innovative mobile solutions of busuu,” Mark Dorman, president of McGraw-Hill Education’s International & Professional group said in a shared press release statement.
McGraw-Hill Education was attracted to busuu in view of its “innovative mobile solutions”, Forbes reports. The social language learning network has over two thirds of its 55 million users accessing the platform on mobile devives. busuu’s vision is to offer people access to effortless, quick and affordable digital education:
“We believe that language learning does not need to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive”, they explain on their official web app.
The social network offers audio-visual language programs in twelve languages, and among its most competitive features is the direct interaction of learners with native speakers from around the world.
busuu boast 100,000 new users every day and has a robust market presence in China, Germany, the U.S., Russia and Brazil, among other countries.
Its courses and mobile and web app have been built by educational experts and developers and offer learning opportunities for all four major language skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing for beginner to advanced intermediate level learners, a majority of whom are adults.
With its $6.7 million investment, McGraw-Hill Education will provide its adaptive learning technology to busuu, something the latter has already invested $100 million in developing, Tech Crunch reports. This new collaboration will allow busuu to penetrate the business-to-business market — something the startup couldn’t do before. The busuu CEO spoke to Forbes about the value of addressing the business sector’s needs:
“B-to-B it is a different animal: You need to train potential HR managers or tutors; the companies might want customization; and sales cycles are much longer in B-to-B,” something that will change with MHE bringing busuu products to its own B2B clients.
The Series B money will be invested on improving the current busuu offerings, on developing new product integrated with MHE’s own adaptive learning technology, on expanding busuu staff from 30 to 50 employees in the next six months, and in acquiring new customers.
busu signed a distribution deal with Pearson English last year, a rival of McGraw-Hill Education. As Niesner reassured, this doesn’t affect either partnership.
“This deal does not change our partnership with Pearson. We continue to work with them on the distribution of their Global Scale of English Test.”