SCOTTISH Equity Partners has spearheaded a $22 million (£14.3m) investment round into Babbel, the language learning app.

The backing is aimed at maintaining growth of the company, which has been profitable since 2011, while allowing it to invest in new product development.

The fresh investment has also been supported by existing investors Reed Elsevier Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners and VC Fonds Technology Berlin, managed by IBB Bet.

Babbel, whose mobile app is seeing up to 200,000 downloads per day, allows users to learn 14 languages, available for display in seven languages.

The subscription-based app, whose courses are available for iOS, Android, desk top and Apple Watch devices, is aimed at people outside the formal education system.

According to Babbel, the bulk of its users are aged between 45 and 70, with French, German, Spanish and Italian the most popular languages studied.

The company currently has more than 350 staff in its offices in New York and Berlin.

Markus Witte, founder and chief executive, said: "In SEP (Scottish Equity Partners) we've gained a high-profile partner that shares our vision of making learning easy and fun for everyone.

"This investment enables us to fully capitalise on a significant market shift towards self-motivated learning."

SEP partner Stuart Paterson, who has joined the board at Babbel, said: "Babbel sets the standard for online language learning, and its strong international footprint is a reflection of that.

"We see significant growth potential in this market and are delighted to support the company as it executes its expansion in the Americas."