Contxto – Guess who’s swooping into unicorn status? Following its recent Series F funding round from Alphabet’s equity funding arm, CapitalG, for US$30 million, Duolingo is now valued at US$1.5 billion.
Funds will be directed towards this Guatemalan language learning app’s research and development arm. Likewise, more staff will be hired to grow their current 200 member team. These efforts will (obviously) lead to the startup’s growth.
Among its other plans for the future is expanding its use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated learning to offer users a more personalized experience.
What’s more, in a recent interview, Guatemalan co-founder Luis von Ahn also stated the startup would consider an IPO launch for 2021 to ensure long-term growth. He also mentioned the startup’s interest in acquiring businesses in education or language learning.
Through venture capital rounds, Duolingo has received funds for more than US$138 million from various parties including Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Union Square Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Drive Capital, the debatably-hilarious Ashton Kutcher, and Tim Ferriss.
Who says being socially responsible isn’t profitable?
This startup was co-founded by Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker in 2011 and is amongst the most downloaded educational apps in the world.
What seemed counterintuitive when it began was the notion of providing free educational language courses. However, more than eight years later, Duolingo reports it has over 30 million monthly active learners and its courses are still free.
Meanwhile, the startup garners revenue thanks to its premium offering, Duolingo Plus. Through this option, paying users can engage in language learning without ads and enjoy extra perks like offline access.
Gotta love the multiverse of languages
The language courses available on its app have also grown to offer Korean, Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic. It’s even helping to keep endangered languages alive by offering Navajo and Hawaiian.
Furthermore, it appears there’s no language the startup will sideline, as it recently added a beta course for Scottish Gaelic to its repertoire just a few days ago. The overall response? More than 20,000 people have already signed up. It also offers Klingon and High Valyrian (I’m geeking out over here).
All in all, Duolingo tenders 91 courses in 30 different languages.
One can’t help but wonder what languages it’ll offer next.