Babbel CEO Arne Schepker on 'real' language learning, failing forward after a botched 2021 IPO, the AI hype cycle, and more
Providing one of the biggest language learning platforms on the planet, Berlin-based veteran tech scale-up Babbel has only raised a little over $30 million to date. An IPO attempt in 2021 failed to materialise, but that doesn't leave the company desperate for funding - at all. We saw down for a good (remote) chat with CEO Arne Schepker to learn more about its current status, and future plans.
Babbel, the edtech company behind the eponymous popular subscription-based online language learning service, is not exactly a spring chicken anymore. Born back in 2007, the scale-up has - weirdly - picked up no more than $30 million in funding to date, despite running one of the biggest subscription-based language learning businesses on the planet.
Or maybe it's not despite but thanks to that status, as the company - now with more than 1,000 employees - is generating enough cash not to think about external funding all that much. It also doesn't need to think about pursuing an IPO any time soon, which in this market is hard enough as it is.
Babbel famously launched an IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 2021, but those plans were cancelled rather quickly.
But meanwhile, the company kept on growing, got really big in the US, and continues to hire at a fast pace.
More than enough reasons to sit down for a chat with Babbel CEO Arne Schepker, who joined the company back in 2015 and seems to have enjoyed the rollercoaster years that followed.
You can watch the interview above or directly on YouTube.
By helping displaced Ukrainians learn a new language, Berlin's Babbel tries to make a difference
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Robin Wauters @ Tech.eu 🇺🇦
European tech journalist and analyst; founder of @tech_eu, previously @TheNextWeb & @TechCrunch. Also proud co-founder of @StartupLensEU and @BeCentralBxl.