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Berlin, Germany based language learning startup Babbel announced the opening of its first overseas office in New York. Babbel co-founder and President Thomas Holl will head operations in the United States.
The opening will mark Babbel’s official entry in the U.S. language learning market which started in March 2013 with the acquisition of PlaySay. PlaySay’s founder Ryan Meinzer joined Babbel as advisor for the U.S. market.
Two years later language learners from the United States account for a double digit percentage of Babbel’s revenue. The startup has now tailored its apps for their U.S. customers, adding American English as display language and ramping up its marketing efforts.
“The United States holds enormous potential for Babbel, and we expect growth in the three-digit percentile in 2015 alone,”
says Thomas Holl.
According to Babbel the major difference between the European and U.S. language learning market is the motivation. While Europeans often learn a language for their job, Americans are motivated by cultural interest and travel.
After Babbel switched its business model from freemium to premium revenue grew by 100% year over year with over 1,300 signing up for a trial of the product each hour. The startup currently has over 300 employees in its Berlin HQ, the New York office will have a staff of six at the opening.
Babbel faces strong competition from other language learning startups like London-based busuu.com or U.S. juggernaut Duolingo which offers a completely free platform for language learners. Rosetta Stone is also preparing a relaunch of its language learning community Livemocha.
- Language Learning Leader Babbel Opens Offices in the United States | Business Wire