Rosetta Stone has bought Livemocha for $8.5m dollars.
Livemocha has been making waves in the last couple of years with its language learning platform for crowd-sourced and publisher content. Initially providing free online courses to individual students, it’s recently been moving into b2b and the provision of ‘professional’ content sourced through licencing deals with publishers. As such, it represented an intriguing new player in the language learning market, and a rising competitor to established players.
We’ll see what Rosetta Stone does with its new toy. Livemocha are saying it’s business as usual – and now with the marketing power of its new parent behind it, onwards to greater things. For Rosetta Stone, the acquisition could be seen to represent a broadening of its reach and capabilities for very little money. Livemocha is a business designed from the ground up for the online world – not something that can be said for Rosetta Stone, so this could be an important new string to their bow. A more cynical (realistic) reading would be that Rosetta has acquired some good tech and talent and taken a rising competitor out of the game for peanuts. The purchase price is significantly less than the VC money already put into Livemocha, so someone’s lost a lot of money. Crucially, Rosetta’s business depends on selling language learning content at a high price; Livemocha’s free model was a clear threat, and one that’s now been extinguished.
Here’s the message that Livemocha have sent to their users:
Dear Livemocha community member,
Over the past five years, Livemocha has grown into a supportive, global community of over 16 million members, working together to learn, teach, and practice a new language. The learning experience that each of you creates makes Livemocha effective, meaningful, and fun.
We are passionate about building a world in which every person is fluent in multiple languages, and today, I am thrilled to announce that we have taken the next step towards that goal.
After months of hard work and preparation, Livemocha has agreed to merge with Rosetta Stone.
Rosetta Stone has built one of the most durable and well-known education brands in the world. They have created powerful technology-based language learning solutions that are the envy of the industry. By combining our strengths, our technologies, and our dedicated focus to serve you well, we will transform the world of learning.
Please rest assured that Livemocha will continue to be the learning experience, product, and community you know and love.
Indeed, Livemocha – in partnership with Rosetta Stone – will now offer more languages, add powerful new tools, and become available on more devices than ever before. And, thanks to your feedback and the participation and the support of the talented team at Rosetta Stone, we will continue to roll out the brand new product experience that we have been building and testing over the past two years. Stay tuned for more announcements soon!
We are and always will be committed to building a world without barriers.
CEO Livemocha Inc.
And here’s Rosetta Stone’s press release.