Open English has more than 500,000 students in over 40 countries.
Open English is the leading online English school in Latin America and in the U.S. Hispanic market. The company was founded in 2007 to reinvent the way to teach English, while meeting needs of today’s busy professionals. The online school offers personalized, live classes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with teachers who are all native English speakers.
The company offers its classes to students all over Latin America – including Brazil, to the Spanish-speaking community in the United States, and it has begun reaching audiences in Spain. Open English has offices in Miami, Bogota, Sao Paulo, Caracas and Buenos Aires.
Open English’s growth over the last three years has been impressive: In 2010, Open English had 5,000 students, in 2011 more than 20,000 and by the close of 2012 it had added 30,000 more students. Open English today has a cumulative base surpassing the 500,000 students, with over 70,000 currently enrolled in the program.
In 2003, Andres Moreno created a company to teach English to executives at Fortune 500 companies in Venezuela, his native country. Within three years, the company had prestigious clients such as Cargill, Sun Microsystems and Procter & Gamble, among others.
Moreno’s experience with this company allowed him to identify the challenges of teaching English using traditional methods. After more than 35,000 hours of classes at this company, he decided it was time to reinvent the way English is taught. Working with Wilmer Sarmiento, his former classmate at Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar University, he began to lay the foundation for what would be Open English: the convenience of learning English online anywhere and at any time, access to native English-speaking teachers, attractive multimedia content and a system that favored human interaction with teachers and advisors who help students achieve their goals. This combination would permit students to become fluent in English and enjoy more options for attaining success in life.
Sarmiento remained in Venezuela with a group of talented programmers creating the Beta version of Open English.com, while Moreno traveled to California to raise money for the company. His partner and wife, Nicole Rankin, was living in California at that time and together they raised the initial capital for developing the program and the learning platform.
The company was launched commercially in Venezuela in 2008 and in 2010 it was introduced in the rest of Latin America. Thanks to its success, the company was able to attract financing from important U.S. venture capital funds. By the close of the third round of fund raising, the company had received more than US$50 million to expand the company. In 2011, Open English entered the Brazilian market, attracting over 10,000 students in its first year alone. The company’s success in Brazil prompted investors to commit over US$65 million in the fourth round of fund raising, for a total of about US$120 million. At that time, the company had a growing client base that reached over 100,000 students.
Open English is using investments to continue working toward its goal of reinventing the way English is taught. The executive team and some 2,000 employees, including full-time personnel and contractors, today is concentrating on reinforcing the company’s presence in its principal markets, Latin America (including Brazil), the Hispanic market in the United States, and is preparing to enter new market spaces in the European continent and beyond. At the same time, the company is focusing on making significant improvements in its learning platform.
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