Naspers Leads $30M Investment In Polish Edtech Firm With U.S. Expansion Plans

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
edtech firm
Brainly helps students in middle and high school to connect, collaborate and learn outside the classroom through an online platform. Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile from Pexels

Naspers, Africa’s largest company by market capitalization, is backing Brainly, a Polish social learning platform that has plans to expand into the U.S. 

Brainly has raised $30 million in a funding round led by South African internet and media giant Naspers, with participation from Runa Capital and Manta Ray, according to a Naspers press release.

Brainly is a Quora-style online platform that helps students in middle and high school to connect, collaborate and learn outside the classroom about topics such as science, math, and history.

Investors appear to be excited about Brainly’s growth potential as it has grown its userbase by 50 percent to 150 million users since 2018.

The platform attracts users because of its gamified nature, with points for quality answers and a popular leaderboard making learning fun and competitive while providing students with a place where it is cool to be smart.

Naspers is the South African consumer tech giant and investor that invested $36 million in Chinese investment holding company Tencent in 2001. That decision paid off and the 31 percent stake is now worth $128 billion.

Runa Capital is a Silicon Valley-based investment firm that makes early-stage funding available to tech firms. Manta Ray is a London-based early-stage venture capital fund backing founders who are addressing significant global challenges through tech.

Jamarlin Martin talks to serial entrepreneur and marketing whiz, Everette Taylor, about building GrowthHackers, PopSocial and other companies. Everette shares what he learned from selling his first tech business at age 21 and working with Snapchat on a new startup accelerator. They also discuss founders investing too much in public relations, and whether negro tech elites need to step up, reach back and help more Black people.

Founded in Poland in 2009 by CEO Michał Borkowski, Tomasz Kraus and Łukasz Haluch, the edtech startup claims to now have 150 million monthly active users across 35 countries.

This is not Naspers’ first investment in Brainly. In May 2016, the global investor led a $15 million Series B investment in the social learning network.

That represented the first venture into education technology for Naspers with a $60 million investment in online course platform Udemy to follow later in 2016.

Edtech firm with plans for U.S. expansion

With this latest investment, Brainly is aiming to expand its service offering in the U.S. which is already one of its top 10 markets, Venturebeat reports.

In 2014 Brainly began to attract American users when it opened its U.S. headquarters in New York, according to a press release.

The edtech firm now has 10 million users in the U.S. but aims to attract more of the 76 million students in its target market, Techcrunch reports.

Brainly is successfully monetizing its U.S. market through its ad-supported online platform on the free version and premium subscriptions for versions with no advertising and additional features that cost between $2 and $5 monthly.

The latest investment brings Brainly’s total funding to date up to $68.5 million, with Naspers involved in rounds amounting to $45 million.