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This article is about Software. For German football player and coach, see Markus Babbel.
Lesson Nine GmbH
Privately Held Corporation
Industry E-Learning
Founded 2007
Headquarters Berlin, Germany
Key people
Markus Witte (CEO), Thomas Holl (CTO), Lorenz Heine (CInO)
Number of employees
110 permanent employees, approx. 150 freelancers [1]

Babbel is a fee-based, online language learning software and e-learning platform available in various languages since January 2008. Thirteen languages are currently offered: Dutch, Danish, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Spanish and Turkish. According to, it has over 20,000,000 users from more than 190 countries.[2]


Interactive courses offered on the web page can be completed online without installation. There are beginner and grammar courses, vocabulary lessons, as well as courses with tongue-twisters, sayings and songs. Users wanting to learn English online can also find Business English on Babbel, with themed lessons such as “Marketing”, “Human Resources” and “PR”, in addition to English for journalists and rail employees. Those wishing to learn Spanish online can also find extensive vocabulary lessons with exercises elaborating upon differences between Spanish speaking countries. Babbel courses can also be studied on mobile devices. Apps for all major mobile platforms are available: iPhone and iPad are available in the App Store,[3] Babbel Android Apps are available in Google Play store,[4] Windows Phone Apps are available through the Windows Phone store,[5] while Windows 8 and Windows RT Apps are available through the Windows App Store.[6] Babbel relies on current technology and teaching methods that aim to make language learning simple. Multimedia reading and writing exercises, listening comprehension and pronunciation training—including a personalized review manager make a multi-sensory, comprehensive learning experience possible. Training the correct pronunciation is special focus for With real-time speech recognition technology, users get immediate feedback on their level of success. Babbel also offers the possibility to contact other learners from around the world. There are individual profile pages, a “board” and an internal messaging system.

Recognitions and Awards[edit]

2013 Babbel has received the "digita 2013" award and the "Innovative 4 Society" on the CeBIT. In 2011 Babbel was awarded the „Comenius EduMedia Seal“ and the „Erasmus EuroMedia Seal of Approval“[7] for „Babbel for Companies“,[8] courses targeted at the business sector. Among others, Babbel counts as one of their business clients. Babbel also received the “European Award for Technology Supported Learning (eureleA)” for best technical implementation. The language learning platform was one of the finalists for "Best Web Application or Service (EMEA)" in TechCrunch’s Europe Awards 2009.


Babbel is operated by Lesson Nine GmbH in Berlin, Germany. The company was founded in August 2007. In January 2008, the language learning platform went online with community features as a free beta version. By the first year, Babbel already had 180,000 members from 200 countries. In 2008, Kizoo Technology Ventures and IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbh became’s first investors. Then in 2009, was granted about one million Euros by the ERDF European Structural Fund. The new product version Babbel 2.0 went online in November, 2009. At that time Lesson Nine founders decided against an advertising and mixed-finance (Freemium) model and opted for paid content. Babbel has around 90 full-time employees and freelancers. The company is located in the Berlin neighbourhood of Kreuzberg.

In March 2013 Babbel acquired San Francisco startup PlaySay Inc. to strategically position themselves to expand into the U.S. market.[9] PlaySay was a 2011 TechCrunch Disrupt Finalist that had a #1 ranked language learning iOS application[10] and premium content deals with McGraw Hill Professional and HarperCollins.[11] As part of the acquisition, PlaySay Founder and CEO Ryan Meinzer joined Babbel as a strategic advisor for its US operations. “With an affordable price point and focus on mobile, is poised to usurp giants like Rosetta Stone who have neglected the majority of the users in the USA market that spend up to $100 each year on self-study language learning products,” he says. “The winner of the race in language-learning software will be the one that does mobile the best and will be well positioned in the principle USA market armed with the acquisition of PlaySay.”[12]

In March 2013 Babbel secured $10 million in Series B funding led by Reed Elsevier Ventures.[11]

See also[edit]


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  9. ^ Leach, Anna (March 22, 2013). "Berlin E-Learning Startup Babbel Buys Out San Francisco Rival". Wall Street Journal. 
  10. ^ Meinzer, Ryan (May 13, 2012). "PlaySay is #1". PlaySay. 
  11. ^ a b Lunden, Ingrid (March 21, 2013). "German Language Learning Startup Babbel Buys Disrupt Finalist PlaySay To Target The U.S. Market". TechCrunch. 
  12. ^ Sawers, Paul (March 21, 2013). "Money talks: Language-learning startup Babbel acquires & shutters PlaySay as it eyes US and mobile growth". The Next Web. 

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