Duolingo Raises $30 Million From Alphabet Venture Fund
Duolingo, the language-learning app famous for helping its users find bathrooms in foreign countries, said it raised $30 million from Alphabet’s CapitalG venture fund. With a valuation of $1.5 billion, the Pittsburgh-based startup is the city’s first venture-funded unicorn. Go yinz.
Duolingo has been growing at an impressive rate. In 2017, it introduced a paid subscription offering that stripped ads and added new features. Now, it earns $100 million in annual bookings.
With the cash influx, Duolingo will hire 100 more employees, launch new platforms like podcasts, and consider investments in AI and machine learning for a more personalized experience.
Bottom line: Duolingo is the world’s top-grossing education app. To keep its lead, it’ll need to think creatively about monetization, especially given its mission of making education “free and accessible to everybody.”
+ Fun fact: Last week, Duolingo added a course for the endangered language Scottish Gaelic. In five days, over 65,000 users signed up to learn the language—more than the number of people who actually know how to speak it.