As the principal of an English language High School in China, I see everyday the opportunities that knowing a second language can provide. I also see the lack of effective language learning technology. This is particularly surprising when one considers the size of the global language-learning market. Babbel is a multiplatform language-learning program that has just finished its Series-B funding and is about to begin an extended push into the American market.
This was a very interesting project as it forced me to look at education through a different lens than I am accustomed. As a principal I do a lot of purchasing of educational resources, sometimes collaboratively, sometimes on my own, but I rarely look at the profit potential of a product. I had to actively work at not focusing on how this product would benefit my school and integrate into our classrooms, and instead think about whether it would make money. To be honest even though I tried to maintain this focus I think that my report is still probably to heavily focused on the educational value of Babbel and not on its financial feasibility. One of the reasons for this were the numbers I could access; Babbel self reports that it has 15 million users and 8 million downloads, but it doesn’t say how many of these are paying users. I myself created three accounts in the course of my research but did not pay for one of them. In the end this was a positive experience because it gave me the opportunity to think of educational resources from another perspective. I don’t think that I will ever be a venture analyst or even an educational edtech entrepreneur, but I am grateful that this class is giving me the opportunity to look at how the education market effects education.
You can find my full report by clicking here, or by going to the following URL. http://blogs.ubc.ca/babbelmarketanalysis/