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This edtech wants to become the next big thing in language apps, takes down $60M funding

Image credits: Cambly

Edtech is going through the roofs this week, just now former British Prime Minister — Tony Blair’s son, Euan Blair — edtech startup is now a unicorn after raising $220M at a $1.7B valuation and now Cambly, a San Francisco-based one-on-one video chat app, announced that it has secured $60M in venture funding. The round was led by Benchmark and Bessemer Venture Partners (a US-based VC firm which also recently invested in Vertice and Choco). 

Additional investors in Cambly include an impressive list of institutional and angel investors: Katrina Lake (Founder and Former CEO of Stitch Fix), Nathan Blecharczyk (Co-Founder of Airbnb), Michael Siebel (Partner at Y Combinator), Ryan Petersen (Founder and CEO of Flexport) and Ben Silbermann (Co-Founder and CEO of Pinterest).

How will the funding be used?

The company will use the funds to hire more employees, and it is expected to double the headcount count from 150 to 300 by the end of 2023.

“We started out helping young professionals learn English, then added support for kids with specialized tutors and curriculums, and now we’re expanding to build the most personalized educational experience that exists today,” says Sameer Shariff, CEO, and Co-Founder of Cambly. 

He adds, “Our approach takes the best learnings from language immersion experiences – real conversations with native speakers – to truly help students learn English. Helping someone learn English has been proven to advance so many important aspects of their lives, from advancing education to reaching career goals, to confidently emigrating to a new country.”  

Marketplace for English learners

Founded by Kevin Law and Sameer Shariff, Cambly gives English learners on-demand access to native English-speaking tutors over video chat. Cambly says that more than 6B people globally do not speak English, but could greatly benefit from learning it. 

The US company provides a marketplace that matches students who want to learn English with the right English tutor based on a few key factors like occupation, interests, time zone, gender, native language, and personality.

Tens of thousands of active tutors support tens of millions of students on Cambly. In terms of the business model, students pay a subscription fee to access the service, and tutors are paid for the time they spend speaking with students. Currently, the platform is now used in more than 150 countries, says the company. 

“When we invest in companies, we look for smart founders, tackling massive problems that can have a global impact,” said Sarah Tavel, General Partner at Benchmark. “Cambly has scaled incredibly quickly, showing the enormous desire that people have for accessible, affordable English education.”

“Language immersion has proven to be the best way to learn a new language,” said Jeremy Levine, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “This is why we were so excited to back Cambly. Their approach and progress to date have been exceptional, and we are excited to support them as they bring Cambly to even more students around the world.”

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