I’m happy to announce that I invested in Busuu, the most active language learning community worldwide. Busuu already has over 2 million users and is growing rapidly, adding more than 10,000 new users each day. Busuu also overtook its two older and more heavily funded main competitors, as this chart shows.
How does Busuu work? In addition to providing the resources to enable individual language learning, users can interact with each other and engage in what Busuu calls “community learning”. Take me for example. Despite having a German wife, I still use Busuu to learn German. With the community feature, I can submit text exercises I wrote to be corrected by other users who are German native speakers. Sometimes I also use the instant video chat to practice speaking German (although I admit that I still have a far way to go :)). Being a native Spanish speaker, I could now help other users who are learning Spanish by correcting their exercises or talking to them directly.
The language learning market is huge – about $90 billion worldwide with around 1 billion people alone learning English. Busuu’s monthly revenue is a 6-digit figure and the company is already reporting positive cash flows. In addition to the 7 languages currently offered, Busuu is planning to add at least 4 more this year, including Mandarin and Japanese. They also launched several pilot projects with schools, universities and companies to enter the institutional market. And of course I should also mention the very popular Busuu iPhone app.
The CEO, Bernhard Niesner is a former student of mine at IE. He is Austrian, the company is based in Madrid. It’s amazing what this great team has been able to accomplish so far on their relatively small initial investment. Keeping up this capital efficiency and growth I see Busuu keeping its leadership in the enormous global language learning market. Busuu is the kind of investment I like because it fits my three key criteria for angel investing: a product I love, an entrepreneur I admire and a company I can help grow.
Here are some pictures of Johann, Adrian, Bernhard and me that Nina took at the signing:
- Busuu raises Angel round from FON-founder Martin Varsavsky (eu.techcrunch.com)