The slow and steady rise of Babbel has been impressive on many fronts. The company is now managing the top-grossing language learning app in the world. That’s why I’m excited to announce that we’ll have founder and CEO Markus Witte as well as CEO U.S. Julie Hansen at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin.
Babbel has been around for over a decade. The company started with a web-based language learning service. It was based on Adobe Flash and HTML. Now, most Babbel users interact with the service using the company’s mobile app.
And Babbel also represents a European success story. Thanks to the European Union, many people live, work and travel all around Europe. It creates a unique market opportunity as the continent is a highly fragmented market when it comes to languages — there are dozens of different languages. That’s why building a language learning startup in Berlin is the perfect fit.
Babbel operates with a freemium, subscription-based model. Downloading the app is free, but you need to pay a subscription to unlock all the features.
More recently, Babbel has been betting on the U.S. as its next market opportunity. Many Europeans want to learn English, and it’s also true in the U.S. Immigrants want to improve their knowledge of English.
It’s a different market that causes a different set of challenges. That’s why the company has named Julie Hansen as CEO of the U.S. division of Babbel.
If you want to hear both Hansen and Witte talk about Babbel’s past ten years and the company’s next ten years, you should come to Disrupt Berlin.
In addition to fireside chats and panels, like this one, new startups will participate in the Startup Battlefield Europe to win the highly coveted Battlefield cup.
Babbel Founder and CEO
Markus Witte is CEO and founder of Babbel , the world’s top-grossing language learning app. He describes Babbel as a learning company inside and out: “Heading a team in which each and every person, as well as the organization itself, is constantly learning new things is incredibly fulfilling.”
Markus began his career at NYU, and later lectured at Humboldt University in Berlin, where he discovered his passion for teaching. Following his time as an academic, he led the development of online marketing and web infrastructure and managed the online and systems teams at music software company Native Instruments. Coming back to learning and teaching, he founded Babbel with three others in 2007.
Babbel CEO U.S.
Julie Hansen is CEO U.S. at Babbel. Based in the company’s New York office she is leading the US expansion of the world’s top-grossing language learning app.
Before joining Babbel, Julie was the COO and President of Business Insider. Under her leadership the news site became the most visited business outlet on the internet. Prior to Business Insider, Hansen held top management roles at sports site NCAA.com, Condé Nast Publications, and Time Inc. Julie has over two decades of experience growing digital media companies, launching interactive web sites, deploying mobile apps, and leading online and offline marketing campaigns. She began her career at Penguin Books, publishing learning software for literature among other products.