Horizon Capital Backs Preply as the First Deal of its Historic Ukraine-focused HCGF IV Fund
July 20, 2023
Kyiv, Ukraine, July 20, 2023 — Horizon Capital, a U.S. private equity firm investing primarily in fast-growing tech and export oriented companies in Ukraine, announced an investment into Ukrainian-founded Preply, a leading global online language learning platform. This transaction marks the first investment from Horizon Capital’s latest fund, Horizon Capital Growth Fund IV (HCGF IV), which reached $254 million at its Interim Closing on April 28, 2023.
Founded in 2012 by three Ukrainian founders Kirill Bigai, Serge Lukyanov, and Dmytro Voloshyn, Preply has become a global e-learning powerhouse, connecting 35,000 tutors with the world’s largest live language learning community. Preply revenues have grown tenfold over the last three years, largely due to significant enhancements in product experience for both tutors and learners. The B2B business has also accelerated, with over 200 new deals signed this past year.
Horizon Capital led Preply’s $70 million capital raise, also backed by Reach Capital, Hoxton Ventures, and other existing investors. The new investor bench will provide a valuable balance of growth stage experience and Edtech expertise to help power the next leg of Preply’s journey.
Lenna Koszarny, Horizon Capital’s Founding Partner and CEO, said: “We are excited to partner with Preply’s exceptional founders and superb leadership team in delivering on their mission of unlocking human potential through learning. Preply fits perfectly into our investment thesis of backing Ukraine’s new generation of visionary entrepreneurs, while paving the way for others inspired to create their own global champion powered from Ukraine that the entire nation can take pride in. We believe the best is yet to come and are delighted that our capital will fuel future R&D, driving growth as well as high impact by creating jobs, promoting entrepreneurship, supporting tech sector development, and contributing to Ukraine’s ongoing economic resilience.”
Kirill Bigai, Co-founder and CEO of Preply, said: “It is a great achievement to have secured this capital injection while we still have plenty of runway and the majority of the previous raise in the bank; a result of rigorous capital efficiency and a laser focus on performance. The additional funds will enable us to extend our leadership in the category through AI-powered human tutors, providing a learning experience which is quickly becoming a game changer. Though the team today is truly global, as a Ukrainian founded company with significant R&D in Ukraine, this is a milestone to be celebrated. One that echoes the resilience and determination of the Ukrainian tech sector and all Ukrainians.”
Dmytro Boroday, Partner at Horizon Capital, added: “I first met Kirill in 2012 at the start of Preply’s journey, beginning from a 10-page Powerpoint presentation and now a world-class educational technology company, fueled by bold vision and unwavering determination. Kirill, Dmytro, and Serge have executed meticulously on their vision, and a decade after our first meeting, we are proud to back Preply as a leading global edtech platform in the language learning space. We look forward to our long-term partnership resulting in Preply reaching new heights, grounded in their strong culture of operational excellence and superb performance.”
Preply is an online language learning marketplace, connecting tutors to hundreds of thousands of learners in 180 countries worldwide. More than 35,000 tutors teach over 50 languages, powered by a machine-learning algorithm that recommends the best tutors for each learner. Founded in the United States in 2012 by three Ukrainian founders Kirill Bigai, Serge Lukyanov, and Dmytro Voloshyn, Preply has grown from a team of 3 to a company of almost 500 employees of 60 different nationalities. With offices in Barcelona, New York, and Kyiv, employees work across 30 countries in Europe, USA, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
About Horizon Capital
Horizon Capital is the leading private equity firm in Emerging Europe with $1.4 billion in assets from investors with a capital base exceeding $630 billion, raising over $700 million in growth capital to back visionary entrepreneurs from Ukraine and Moldova in just over 5 years. Horizon Capital-managed funds have invested in over 160 companies employing more than 77,000 people in the region.