My second prediction for 2012 is about two of the oldest players in the language learning community space, Palabea and italki.
Both disappeared from the main screen about two years ago but none of them ever hit the dead pool though we have to say that Palabea has been very close to a cardiac arrest. But looking at some of the recent posts, I predict that both will attempt to make a comeback in the first half of 2012.
Why do I predict this?
Let’s start with Palabea. I already wrote a post titled “Palabea – Phoenix from the Flames?” back in August 2010, yes 2010 not 2011. Back then I had the chance to connect with Matthias Spanic who took the reigns as CEO at the then nearly dead startup. He quickly gathered a core team of seasoned key executives, Regine Haschka-Helmer as CMO and Fabian Hübner as CTO.
In March 2011 Palabea raised a $1 million funding round, then hired a couple of people in August and started working on a complete overhaul of the platform. Though there is no official lauch date yet, I think they need to get it out before summer in order to get the community back on track.
italki was one of the first platforms I used to offer my language lessons on. If I am not mistaken, italki never raised more than $1 million (I think even less than that) but still they managed to keep the boat afloat for nearly five years now which is in itself quite impressive.
Over the years, italki tried out different tactics to monetize on their userbase, from offering paid classes with language tutors & teachers to selling products on a marketplace. But it all never really took off like for example Livemocha did. But that seems to change. According to a post on AngelList italki is growing again
“August results – continuing to show growth in revenues and classes (13% and 16%). People starting to really get online language learning…”
Then, in a post on the italki blog on January 1st, Kevin Chen wrote the following
In 2012, there will be a lot of changes at italki. We’ve got new ideas (and we’ve received a lot of suggestions from you!), and we’ll soon have more resources to turn these ideas into reality.
As there are basically only two types of resources, workforce and capital, I bet on the latter one and say that italki will soon announce a new funding round based on the growth of their classes and revenues.