PlaySay Acquired by Language Learning Startup, Babbel

Mergers and Acquisitions

PlaySay Acquired by Language Learning Startup, Babbel

Mar 22, 2013

PLAYSAY: Acquired by Berlin-based Babbel; terms of the deal remain undisclosed. The two companies were founded in 2008 to develop mobile language learning tools, although they focused on different markets (PlaySay on the U.S., Babbel on Europe). PlaySay founder and CEO Ryan Meinzer will act as "strategic advisor" for Babbel while joining the Heroku team for his full-time gig. The SF-based company had previously raised a total of $820K from the likes of Novak Biddle. More details in the press release.

Current PlaySay users will have access to the app for 45 more days (until May 6), after which they will presumably be asked to join the Babbel platform. How this transition will take place, and how user data will be affected, has yet to be determined, though Meinzer has told EdSurge that he is working with Babbel to ensure a smooth user experience.

The acquisition signals Babbel's entry into the U.S. market, where it hopes to expand on its current user base of 15 million. The two markets are quite different, says Meinzer, who will be helping Babbel gamify its apps. Says Meinzer: "People in the U.S. learn foreign language as a 'cool' factor, where Europeans learn English to be part of the world. This difference in motivation directly correlates with the user’s ability and decision to pay."

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