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A pretty large VC deal was announced today in Russia. Runa Capital invested $3 million in LinguaLeo, a cloud-based language tutorial service with a current focus on teaching English to Russian speakers. The company has ambitions to enter the global online English teaching market, which has been estimated at $1,31 billion in 2011. The service includes interactivity, rich multimedia, simplified translation lookup as well as elements of gamification.
The company boasts over 1,5 million users in Russia and CIS countries, as well as in the US, Israel, Germany and United Kingdom. It targets not only individual users, but also corporations which are interested in helping their employees develop their English language skills.
With a freemium business model LinguaLeo claims to see between 70,000 to 80,000 daily visitors, which is supposedly similar to its Western competitors Busuu and LiveMocha, yet it grows at the rate of 7000 new registrations per day. This year the company plans to localize its website for other languages and offer new languages to learn, according to LinguaLeo blog post about this funding round. It is in Russian, an interesting read.
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