Tag Archives: babbel

Number of the Week

Number(s) of the Week: 9.95 and 1 million

Number of the WeekAs the anniversary of this blog is getting closer, I started looking through the archives as I do every year. Sometimes, I am really surprised to find posts I can’t remember to have written and a lot of them bring back memories, of course. What a ride!

One of the first startups I wrote about back in January 2009 was Livemocha. Back then, the language learning community just cracked the 1 million user mark and started to offer its first premium content. It was a travel course in Italian priced at $9.95

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Muhammad Ali taunting  Sonny Liston 1965

It’s on! How I am going to compete with Livemocha, busuu and Babbel

No, I haven’t lost my marbles! But at least now I got your attention, I think.

As you know, I have pursued a side project in German language learning since April 2008 called Deutsch Happen. On the basis of a more or less regular schedule I have produced different kinds of video lessons to test out teaching ideas and to support learners of German as a foreign language who might have no access to paid solutions.

For the past couple of months I have been experimenting with some strategies on how to grow my audience on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and the results are good enough to take this to the next step: I am building a MVP.

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Monday RoundUp

MRU: Global Language Communities, valued Interns and Biz and Livia Stone

Livemocha is strengthening its footprint in Latin America. Abril Educacao bought 5.9% of the Seattle-based startup and is planning to build a platform for the rising Brazilian middle class.

Babbel is going to expand its mobile offers by acquiring the application department of software company Aspirement in October. The premium language learning community also tripled its revenue in 2011 and is planning to expand to North America.

InternMatch raised a $500k funding round from renown investors, expands US wide and launched a new feature for companies called Community Pages. Those pages are showcases for company culture and help interns to get a first idea of what it will be like working for the company before even applying for an internship. Launch partners are major brands like Pixar, Aol, Wikimedia and others.

The Des Moines Area Community Colleges are planning to extend their offering by implementing WizIQ Classrooms in Fall. The platform will be used for everything from virtual office hours to synchronous lectures, lesson capture or outreach to prospective students.

Biz Stone and his wive Livia announced the first fundraiser for the Biz and Livia Stone Foundation. The goal of the non-profit is to support education and conservation efforts in the state of California.

In EDUKWEST #71 I talked with Josh Koppel, co-founder of ScrollMotion. ScrollMotion is a renown developer of digital books, magazines and applications and is behind the digital version of Esquire and the Oprah Winfrey magazine. Now, the company turned the HMH Algebra 1 textbook into an interactive application. The company has the potential to become a vital competitor for Kno and Inkling.

On Big Think I wrote about Language Learning Communities being the pubs of the global village and the Digital Backpack becoming more and more a reality.

Babbel and busuu expand their Offers, Livemocha nears 10 million Members

As there have been a couple of smaller updates and news around the three language learning communities recently, I thought I might as well combine them in one blog post to give you a quick overview on the current state of affairs.

So, here we go.
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Monday Roundup: Babbel, Busuu, Skype and GoToMeeting

As there is always more happening than I can cover in single blog posts, I will try to write a short roundup on interesting stories and events that did not make it into an own blog post but that are too important to not be shared with you.

Today we have Babbel, Busuu and the Skype / GoToMeeting partnership.

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Review:ed 2010 – April to June

This is the second part of my review of 2010. April was the month when freemium got a hard kick in the behind, three companies proved this system is not the holy grail that fits in no matter what market.

In May and June we saw some early signs of trends that will become mainstream this year like video calling and a hire that brought the thunder back to a Seattle based startup.

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The Europas – Edu Finalists are out

Mike Butcher just published the list of finalists for the Europas on November 19th in swinging London. As you know, education has its own category but there are also placements in other categories.

So here is the list of edu startups for this year’s Europas.

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Growing Guerrilla Style – Busuu is the second 7 Digit Community

Busuu tweeted recently that their community has officially reached more than 1 million members. This is a very impressive number itself but what I find even more interesting is that Busuu had tweeted exactly one month before to have reached the milestone of 800.000 users.

That is a growth of 200.000 users in 30 days, over 6600 users per day in one single month.

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Are Teachers Going to be Irrelevant?

Over the past few days, I have been trying out Babbel to learn French. They have obviously iterated over their interactive courses to come up with an incredibly nice solution (and the speech recognition is just the icing on the cake). I have been telling about this to anyone whom I can. And, that has resulted in some great conversations, especially with some people who have traveled around the world.

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review:ed Episode #5 with Shiv Rajendran

In this episode of review:ed I had the pleasure to talk with Shiv Rajendran, Director at LanguageLab.com who is a well- known guest on my various shows. We talked about Pearson & Ning, Babbel & Livemocha, India & the $35 USD laptop, eduFire & Camelback Education and asynchronous content, live lessons and social games in education.

Thank you to our sponsor VODBURNER which provides review:ed with great Skype Video Recording & Editing.

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Babbel now Knows What You are Saying – Introduces Voice Recognition

And Babbel did it again. After taking the lead on mobile devices with the iPhone application attached to its platform Babbel now introduced voice recognition or the missing link that separated the company from Rosetta Stone.

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Hello-Hello launches its Courses on the iPad

Language learning community Hello-Hello launched its four courses for English, German, Italian and Portuguese learners on the iPad. The apps cost $9.99 USD each and consist of 30 conversational lessons per language.

Together with Babbel Hello-Hello is the only language learning community that offers native applications for Apple products.

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Cha-ching! Babbel is in the Black

TechCrunch Europe broke the news that language learning community Babbel had its first profitable Q1 in the history of the company.

And in Babbel’s case this means profit from sales of their product, not advertising revenue, affiliate sales or other schwag. People buy what Babbel build. A really radical concept.

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Babbel takes a Technology Lead in the Race

Language Learning Community Babbel announced three new features today: its first mobile phone app for iPhones, iPods and iPads, a desktop client for PCs and Macs called Babbel Refresh and the possibility to adapt the learning material.

In a side note we learn that Babbel now has over 700.000 users in more than 200 countries.

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Babbel launches Swedish and Brazilian Portuguese – Offers Language Flex

Language learning community Babbel adds two new languages, Swedish and Brazilian Portuguese, to its portfolio which now includes a total of seven languages.

Until March 26th members can also buy a special offer called Language Flex which allows them to learn all languages offered on the platform.

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Babbel declares Premium Model a Success – Busuu launches new Group Feature

We got  interesting news from the two European competitors of Livemocha. Markus Witte, Co-Founder of Babbel wrote a blog post about the success of Babbel 2.0. If you can remember, Babbel changed from their freemium model to a premium only model in November 2009 which of course has caused some discussions if this was such a clever move.

The Co-Founder of the language learning community Busuu, Bernhard Niesner, wrote on their company blog about the launch of a new group feature on the site.

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Livemocha and Collins announce Partnership for Premium Courses

Language learning community Livemocha, now over 5 million members strong, announced a new partnership with a publisher. This time it is Collins and together they will work on premium Spanish, French, German and Italian courses.

Now this means basically that the giant from the other side of the Atlantic throws an eye on the market of its smaller competitors Babbel and Busuu, namely Europe.

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busuu receives six-figure funding from Austrian Business Angel

Exciting day for the guys at busuu. They just announced that busuu received a six-figure funding from an Austrian business angel who will also join the company as advisor.

But that’s not all. busuu also announced to finally launch Brazilian Portugese as sixth language to learn.

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Livemocha secures another $8 Million in Series B Funding

Just when you think you can start with the recap post of the year TechCrunch reports that the online language learning community Livemocha has secured another $8 Million USD in series B funding.

This sums up to a total of $14 Million USD in funding and should help Livemocha in its fight for the crown against Rosetta Stone TOTALe.

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There is no free lunch – Babbel goes Premium

What is your association with the magic numbers 2.0? Social Media, networking, chatting and, of course, no cost or at least freemium.

Well, not anymore. At least not in education. With the launch of Babbel 2.0 the company says “Good bye” to freemium and “Hello” to advertising free premium services.

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