Language learning platform Memrise inks $15.5 mln Series B

London-based Memrise, a language learning platform, has raised $15.5 million in Series B funding. Octopus Ventures and Korelya Capital led the round with participation from Avalon Ventures and Balderton Capital.


[LONDON 8 June 2018] Memrise, the language-learning platform, has secured $15.5m in Series B funding. The investment was led by Octopus Ventures and Korelya Capital, and supported by follow-on investments from Avalon Ventures and Balderton Capital.

In an exciting stage of growth, the funding will be used to accelerate development, with transformative plans to enhance its software engine, and rollout multimedia enhancements to its iOS, Android and web products.

Underpinned by scientific methodology, Memrise helps more than 35 million adults worldwide effectively learn languages. They support more than 22 languages, including Mandarin, French, Arabic and Spanish, and were voted overall Best App in the 2017 Google Play Awards.

Memrise was co-founded by Ed Cooke and Ben Whately, who see ample opportunity to build on what makes the app so compelling for its users. “Memrise is an accessible platform for all people to learn languages—at the heart of our vision is creating learning experiences that meaningfully connect people to the world,” says Cooke.

The Memrise approach is unique. Cooke is an Oxford psychology and philosophy graduate, and a Grandmaster of Memory, who saw opportunity in how modern mobile devices can deliver emotionally rich, yet highly personalised and scientifically choreographed learning experiences. As a result, the company uses a combination of well-established scientific learning principles, experimentation and analysis to refine its teaching techniques. The company has significantly enhanced the rate at which its users gain confident language skills since the mobile apps’ launch in 2015.

New lead investor Eyal Rabinovich from Octopus Ventures says “We’re in love with Memrise’s vision for language learning, and have been deeply impressed with the high engagement levels and tangible learning among their millions of users. We look forward to supporting this exceptionally diverse and talented team in their mission to enrich human consciousness through learning.”

At the core of the Memrise mandate is enriching people’s experience of the world, which Cooke believes sets Memrise apart from other startups, and is critical to its growing success.

“We’re a technology company actively working to improve human consciousness, and to foster authentic engagement across communities. We care about self-improvement and empowerment, and we’re determined to use technology to make learning—which we believe depends most fundamentally on meaningful connection with the world —richer and more engaging for tens of millions of people.”

Paul Degueuse from Korelya Capital, had this to say: “Much more than another language learning app, Memrise addresses our endless aspiration to learn and experience our global world, with a unique understanding of the way we think.”

Brady Bohrmann of Avalon Ventures, who led Memrise’s Series A and followed on this round said “We’ve seen at first-hand how deeply and creatively the Memrise team thinks about language learning, and believe their scientific understanding, AI expertise, and simple knack for fun will continue to set them apart in creating language learning experiences that deliver beyond anything else in the market.

· Founded in 2010 in Oxford by Ed Cooke, Ben Whately, Greg Detre
· Graduate of Techstars Boston 2011
· 35 million users
· Profitable with team of 70
· Google Play “App of the Year” 2017
· >200 language pairs (e.g. English for Spanish speakers, Italian for Chinese speakers, French for Arabic speakers etc)
· Successful “Membus” Kickstarter of 2015 led to creation of world’s first ‘video dictionary’ via double-decker bus tour through Europe
· Hosted world’s first applied science competition for learning effectiveness, the Memprize, with entries from a dozen top universities. Winner was Radbound, ahead of Oxford, MIT etc