busuu is the largest social network for language learning, with over 40 million users worldwide. The company offers free and premium paid-for access to audio-visual courses for 12 languages: Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and English.
Members can improve their language skills through direct interaction with native speakers within the community via an integrated video-chat application and peer-to-peer text corrections. As a result, every busuu.com user is both a ‘student’ of a foreign language and also a ‘tutor’ of their own mother tongue.
Bernhard Niesner and Adrian Hilti in Madrid founded busuu in early 2008. It was an official UNESCO International Year of Languages project in 2008. The website has received several awards including AlwaysOn Global 250 Winner 2009, Language Label 2009 from the European Commission, CeBIT Innovation Award 2010, Red Herring European Winner 2010, ‘Best Education Start-up’ at The Europas TechCrunch Awards in 2011 and the EdTech Innovator award at The BETT Show in 2014.
The company is named after the Busuu language of Cameroon. According to an ethnological study from the 1980’s, Busuu is spoken by only 8 people.