In November 2016 we visited Babbel. Babbel is one of the biggest online language learning softwares and e-learning plattforms.
Here is the interview – and have a look at the team and their new office.
In 2013, we visited Babbel the first time, have a look at their old office.
What is your core business?
Babbel is the language-learning app that empowers users to speak from the very beginning.
In language learning, nothing is more rewarding than a real conversation — and 73% of surveyed customers feel that they’d be able to have one within five hours of using the app.
The Babbel app for web, iOS and Android makes it easy to learn 14 different languages from 7 display languages.
Bite-sized lessons fit into everyday life and focus on useful real-world topics, from introducing oneself, to ordering food and making travel arrangements.
The app’s effective game mechanics ensure that learners stay motivated to achieve their goals, with the average user continuing to learn with Babbel for more than 12 months.
Uniquely, every course is created specifically for each language pair by a team of education experts, linguists and language teachers.
With no ads and a transparent, subscription-based business model, the company’s focus remains firmly on getting learners conversational fast.
The company recently surpassed 1,000,000 active paying subscribers.
How did you get to your business idea and when was your company established?
The Babbel story began back in 2007, when founders Markus Witte, Thomas Holl and Lorenz Heine discovered that there was no real way to learn a language online — a problem they knew they could fix.
In 2008, the first Babbel app was released: an app that combined new technology with proven methodologies to help people learn a new language based on what they already know from their own language — an approach that’s still unique to Babbel.
We’ve been growing fast since then: over 1,000,000 active subscribers are learning 14 different languages, from Spanish to Indonesian.
And in 2016, Fast Company Magazine named Babbel the most innovative company in education worldwide.
Are you using Venture Capital? And if – who are your Venture Partners?
For the first 18 months, Babbel was funded solely by the founders themselves, but we later completed three rounds of financing (Series A, B and C).
At the time of writing (2016), Babbel has received a total of 33 million US dollars. Our business model has been profitable with positive cash flow since 2011.
Our investors are IBB Investment Company (via VC Fonds Technology Berlin), Kizoo Technology Ventures, Reed Elsevier Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners and Scottish Equity Partners (SEP).
In which countries are you active? Are you planing to expand your venture in other countries? And if – where?
Babbel is accessible worldwide in 190 countries on Babbel.com, and also via mobile apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Our core markets include Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and the United States.
It is in these markets that we conduct our strongest marketing activities. Note that we operate under the name Babbel Inc. in the US, where our second office is located in New York.
Where do you see the company in 5 years?
In 5 years Babbel will be the worldwide household brand for online language learning.
With Babbel everyone can learn a language. And our goal is to get everyone to speak a new language fast.
We will continue to grow massively and we believe that product innovation and new technologies will play a strong role in the future.
How many employees work at your company right now? Are you planing to expand?
We are a team of 400 from 36 nations working in our headquarters in Berlin and New York. We are also constantly expanding with an average of six new employees every month.
What is the average age of your team members ?
30What kind of attitude should new employees have to have in order to work at your company?
We are constantly searching for passionate people from all around the world that love what they do and want to work for Babbel to become part of a product and a company of substance.
Learning a new language makes a positive difference in our users’ lives, and we’re with them every step of the way. Helping our customers achieve their goals gives us a fantastic sense of purpose, and allows us to create a sustainable business.
We are a learning company inside and out and want to grow, develop and gain more experience every day.
Apart from that, we live diversity — our diversity makes us strong.
Why is it fun to work at your company? Do you offer any employee benefits?
Along with offering our employees to work for a product that changes people’s lives, we were named one of the 50 most innovative companies worldwide by the US magazine Fast Company.
We offer an interactive, individual work environment in which everyone is individually supported. We organize workshop sessions, lunch presentations, regular hackdays and lectures by expert speakers.
More then fresh fruits every day, delicious coffee and soft drinks, we also do yoga sessions and every Babel employee gets a free Babbel Bike or a public transport card for their personal use.
And whenever there is something to celebrate — a birthday, a finished project, Christmas or summer — we never miss out on an opportunity to get together.
We truly believe that we work better as a team if we get to know each other.
And of course we also offer free access to all Babbel courses for our employees. When you encounter more than 20 different languages on a daily basis, the desire to learn is hard to suppress.
Back in 2013, we visited Babbel before, have a look at their old office.
Do you offer new employees a relocation service or help to relocate?
Our HR team is always trying their best to help every new employees to get settled in Berlin or New York.
We also have special onboarding days for newbies and get-together breakfasts during the first months.
Do you have a job board? What is the web-link?
You can find our job board under http://jobs.babbel.com/en/ – we are constantly hiring!
How big is your Office/Production Site?
We are just moving to our new office at the moment, and will be completely moved in by the 25th of July.
Our new Office in Max-Beer-Straße 2 will have 5 floors. The rest is still top secret and will be announced in the press soon.
Did you get help from an interior designer by designing the office? And if who did you work together with?
The Babbel employees basically and democratically decided all together how they want to have their new office designed and what they will feel comfortable with.
We created an A-team that coordinated communication between the Babbelonians and designers/architects.
Thank you Babbel Team for this interview & the photoshooting!
Location: Berlin, Germany Website: www.babbel.com
Photos: copyright by Andreas Lukoschek