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Start-up Insight: Babbel – language learning platform for global education

In the early 2000s, Markus Witte and Thomas Holl founded the start-up Babbel with the aim of creating an innovative platform for language learning. Her vision was to offer people around the world an effective and accessible way to learn a new language. Babbel combined language courses, interactive exercises and personalised learning and achieved impressive success through precise control over its business processes.

Beginnings: Focused investments

Babbel started small, but the team understood the importance of smart resource management right from the start. They invested specifically in the development of high-quality learning materials and interactive courses. The budget was closely monitored to ensure that resources were used efficiently and the quality of the platform was maintained.

Growth phase: Analytical data management

As Babbel’s user base grew, data analysis became a critical factor. Babbel relied on a comprehensive analysis system to understand user behavior. This data enabled Babbel to evaluate the effectiveness of its courses, identify weaknesses in the learning processes and continuously improve the user experience.

Expansion and internationalisation: local adaptation

Babbel recognised that success in different countries required different approaches. They carried out a careful analysis of the regional markets and adapted their courses and marketing strategies to the needs of the respective countries. Through this targeted adaptation, Babbel has been able to increase interest and participation in its language courses worldwide.

Scaling: Efficient use of resources

As the user base continued to grow, Babbel invested in technological infrastructure and employees. At the same time, the company kept a close eye on costs and ensured that the scaling of resources was in line with revenue and growth targets. This helped to ensure financial stability during the rapid growth.

Success and market leadership: transparent controlling

Babbel has achieved a strong market position in the field of online language learning. They owe this not only to their high-quality platform, but also to a transparent controlling approach. The following controlling elements were and are largely responsible for Babbel’s success:

  • Precise cost control and budgeting: Babbel placed great emphasis on precise cost control and budgeting right from the start. This enabled them to keep a grip on expenditure and ensure that resources were used efficiently. Budgeting helped to set clear financial targets and define spending priorities.
  • Data-based decision making: Babbel used extensive data analytics to understand user behavior on the platform. This helped them to evaluate and continuously improve the effectiveness of their courses. They collected information on usage times, learning progress and dropout rates to make adjustments that optimised the learning experience.
  • Segmentation and target group analysis: In the course of internationalisation, Babbel analysed the needs and preferences of various target groups in different countries. By segmenting users, they were able to develop targeted content and marketing strategies that were better tailored to the respective markets.
  • Performance tracking and KPIs: Babbel defined clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor the success of their measures. They not only tracked financial key figures, but also key figures such as user growth, conversion rates and customer loyalty. These KPIs helped them to evaluate the success of their strategies and make adjustments where necessary.
  • Transparency and investor relations: Babbel demonstrated transparency not only internally, but also towards investors and partners with regard to its financial performance and business development. Regular financial reports and open communication helped to build trust and attract investor interest, which in turn provided capital for expansion.
  • Adapting to growth: During rapid growth, Babbel ensured that their internal controls and processes kept pace with the business. This included expanding the technological infrastructure, introducing more efficient work processes and adapting control mechanisms to prevent potential risks.


Babbel's controlling is characterised by a data-driven approach that focuses not only on financial aspects, but also on improving the customer experience, company processes and product quality. This led Babbel to become one of the world's leading online language learning platforms.

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