Ukrainian startup Preply, which we covered in March, that is developing a marketplace platform for students and pupils to book appointments with the tutors in person or via Skype, has closed a seed funding round of $1.3 million, according to TechCrunch and UADN. The money came from several individuals, namely Arthur Kostenand and founder & CEO of DocPlanner Mariusz Gralewski, together with several VC funds: Polish RTAventures and Hedgehog Fund, Ukrainian Digital Future and SMRK. TechStars incubator, where Preply had previously been on acceleration in Berlin office, also joined the round. Preply is currently offering its services in five markets: Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Mexico and Brazil. According to TechCrunch, new financing shall be used in order to enter new markets in Spain, Germany and UK.
Launched in 2013, the platform now has 25 000 private tutors, which are providing lessons to 70 000 registered students. Before launching in Spain, these numbers were respectively 20 000 and 60 000. The most popular subject taught on the platform is English language. The business model is based on the concept of getting the full fee out of the first lesson taught by the tutor, and then a fixed fee for each next lesson. The minimum price of the lesson is $2, and the average is $15. The tutors are suggested using a recommendation algorithm and there’s an option of verifying the identify. Preply currently doesn’t own the video technology to host the lessons, and is therefore using the intermediaries like Skype or Hangouts. In the future the plan is to integrate with APIs of the video conferencing services providers.
Current priorities for the development of the startup are product and marketing & sales. Half of the money are to be used hiring developers team in Kiev, Ukraine, where the headquarters are located and moving on the product roadmap. Secondly, the plan is to hire regional representatives which are to lead the growth in the new markets.