Babbel is a community-based, online language-learning tool from Berlin based firm Lesson Nine. Founded in August 2007, the company has since acquired FriendsAbroad.com and in April 2009 launched its first paid service, a Spanish course for German speakers.
In July 2008, Babbel secured an undisclosed amount of funding from German investors Kizoo and VC Fonds Berlin. This month the company has raised approximately €1 Million with the aid of European Funds for Regional Development (EFRE) and funding from the State of Berlin. Based on a Germany investment model called Silent Parnership, the investment is more of a loan where the company has to pay interest and possibly profit-related compensation. Although similar to a bank loan, with Silent Partnership, in the event of insolvency, all other creditors are paid preferentially to the silent partner.
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Babbel itself is developed by software experts and language professionals and features audio clips and rich visuals to keep the user keen and interested. The service also includes a number of social features which allow friends from all around the world to help each other to learn.
For an in depth review of the service, have a read of this impartial review by VCGate.