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Babbel is a German web-based education platform specializing in online language learning. Founded in 2007, Babbel is known for its adaptive language acquisition app, which delivers professionally designed courses in 10- to 15-minute increments. And while competing apps like Duolingo incrementally help novice users read, write, listen and speak in the language of their choice, Babbel employs a profitable subscription system for its content. Available in 14 languages from Spanish to Indonesian, Babbel is the world's highest-grossing language learning app. In 2015, the Berlin-based company opened new offices in New York, as it focuses on attracting more American subscribers to its user base. In early 2016, the company hit 1 million users.

The company's competitive advantage in 2016:

A focus on consumers in search of self-improvement, not institutions

The biggest challenges standing in this company's way in 2016:

Research firm Ambient Insight predicts global sales of language tools will drop 2.1% to $56.3 billion by 2018 from 2014. But it also says sales of mobile language learning products will climb 73% to $14.5 billion by 2019.

What to look out for:

Exploring new technology to help users integrate their lessons with their daily livesFocus on expansion into the Americas.

Top perks for employees:

Yoga classes, free snacks, and Babbel-branded bikes.

Social media handles:

Youtube: LessonNine
G+: +BabbelPlus


public or private
120,000 downloads a day
Berlin, Germany