PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Berlin, Germany, 2008/11/06 - Lesson Nine, the Berlin-based company behind the online language learning portal Babbel.com, announces today acquiring the British language community FriendsAbroad.com.
Only three months after receiving funding from KIZOO and VC-Fonds Berlin, the takeover establishes Babbel.com as one of the largest players in the dynamic online language learning market.
According to Markus Witte, Managing Director of Babbel, "the takeover of this major competitor helps us to enlarge and diversify the Babbel online community. For learners using our interactive online courses, having an international community offers a major advantage over all offline language learning material. They can now find active learning partners anywhere in the world."
Language Plus Community
While FriendsAbroad has been mainly an online community for making contact with other language learners, Babbel.com now provides the material for them to realize their studies. Babbel's focus is on interactive learning, with a wide variety of multimedia material in French, Spanish, German, Italian and English. Even before the projected incorporation of FriendsAbroad users, Babbel boasts a vibrant community of over 100,000.
“We are pleased to become part of Babbel,” says Simon Murdoch, founder of FriendsAbroad.com, “because it has a wider focus with interesting high quality language learning content, as well as the community features our users already enjoy.”
More Opportunities to Make Friends Worldwide
To facilitate the transition for FriendsAbroad users, Babbel.com has just launched additional community features. “Writing Topics” allows learners to write short texts and have them corrected by native speakers from the Babbel community. Meanwhile, the new "Friends" option makes it easier for learning partners and “Tandems” to find one another and stay in touch.
Babbel.com offers the opportunity for anyone to learn French, Spanish, Italian, German or English for free online. The company behind Babbel, Lesson Nine GmbH, is located in multi-cultural Berlin and was founded in 2007 by Lorenz Heine (35), Markus Witte (38), Toine Diepstraten (33) and Thomas Holl (33). Beforehand these four worked for the audio software company Native Instruments, which Heine had co-founded. Online since January 2008, Babbel.com received an investment from Kizoo AG and VC Fonds Berlin in the summer of 2008.
FriendsAbroad.com, based in the United Kingdom, was one of the first online portals focusing on language acquisition. Founder Dr. Simon Murdoch has an impressive track record as an internet entrepreneur, starting one of Europe's first online bookstores, Bookpages. He later sold this to Amazon.com, where he then became vice president of amazon.co.uk. He has also been an active investor in Internet businesses such as Betfair and Lovefilm.