Open English, the rapidly growing online English language school, has raised an additional $65 million in venture capital to fund its expansion within Latin America — and outside the region.
The Series D round, valuing the company at $350 million, brings the total funding raised to $120 million. "There are very few companies that have had that level of funding in ed-tech and certainly for companies in Latin America," said Andres Moreno, CEO and co-founder of the Miami-based company with offices or call centers in Panama, Caracas, Bogota and Sao Paulo. The round was led by Technology Crossover Ventures, whose investments include Facebook, Expedia, Netflix, HomeAway and others, including education technology companies. C-Round investors Redpoint Ventures and Insight Venture Partners also participated in this round, Moreno said on Monday.
Open English, which offers live, online classes by native English speakers in 22 countries across Latin America, has grown from 5,000 students in 2010 to more 70,000 current students today. With about a year of launching in Brazil -- it’s first non-Spanish market -- the company recently enrolled its 10,000th student there. Open English employs more than 2,000 full-time, part-time and contract workers.
"We’re just really scratching the surface here. We think there is meaningful opportunity to continue to capture market share as people realize this is a better and more cost effective solution than traditional brick and mortar schools," said Moreno, who started the company in Venezuela with his partners with just $700 in 2006.
Moreno explained the $65 million round will fund expansion within Latin America, significant investments in its products, including its back-end and consumer learning platforms, and, for the first time, expansion beyond the core region.
"We will be launching in three new territories outside of Latin America in 2013," Moreno said, adding that announcements will be coming out in the next few months.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are to grow this,” said Moreno. “This is good news for the Latin American entrepreneurial ecosystem ... and it is a good thing for Miami.”
Boris Hirmas Said, entrepreneur in residence at Florida International University and chairman of Tres Mares Group who was attending the Rokk Miami event on Monday, added: "Andres Moreno and Open English are the role models Miami empowers everyday to inspire our new generation of entrepreneurs, as top valuations and serious money are a reality in our neck of the woods."