EBRD and IFC co-invest in Ukrainian-Founded EdTech Leader Preply

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 12/11/2023, Location: Asia

- EBRD and IFC provide $10 million alongside Horizon Capital to Preply, a global EdTech company specializing in online language learning
- New funds will support future research and product development
- Investment to help bolster Ukraine’s tech sector

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are investing in Ukrainian-founded Preply, a leading global online language learning platform, to help bolster Ukraine’s tech sector, pave the way for more innovative solutions and aid economic recovery.

The EBRD and IFC are co-investing US$ 10 million in partnership with Horizon Capital, a prominent growth equity fund manager in Ukraine and Moldova, and a long-standing client of both the EBRD and IFC.

This investment is part of a $70 million funding initiative led by Horizon Capital. The influx of capital will empower Preply to expand its research and development initiatives, integrate artificial intelligence to enhance the learning experience, and introduce new product lines. With a global reach, the company links approximately 40,000 tutors with the world's largest interactive language learning community.

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.”

Holger Muent, EBRD Head of Telecommunications, Media and Technology, stated: “This investment will contribute to the resilience of the private equity market in Ukraine, and growth of an innovative and high-potential global tech business with significant R&D in Ukraine. We are proud to work alongside our long-standing client Horizon Capital and our partners at IFC to support Preply in continuing to provide its vital services and develop new educational products amidst the ongoing war.”

“Ukraine’s tech sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience and growth amid unprecedented challenges,” said Lisa Kaestner, IFC’s Country Manager for Ukraine and Moldova. “IFC is committed to supporting the sector and innovative companies like Preply, which are leveraging technology to expand access to services, while also boosting the country’s economy.”

Despite Ukraine experiencing a drastic 29.1 percent drop in its GDP in 2022, its technology sector generated a remarkable $7.3 billion in annual export earnings, exceeding expectations and providing crucial support to the country’s economy. New investments are crucial for businesses and job creation in Ukraine’s high-risk environment.

The EBRD is a committed and steadfast partner of Ukraine. Over the last 30 years, the Bank has been the largest institutional investor in the country, with cumulative investment of more than €18 billion in more than 500 projects.

In October 2023 the EBRD reached its target of deploying at least €3 billion of financing in Ukraine’s real economy in response to Russia’s war on the country that began in 2022.

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