New Series H funding to be used to drive product and team expansion; values company at $2.4 billion
Duolingo, the world’s most popular language-learning platform, today announced that it has raised $35 million in financing at a $2.4 billion valuation from Durable Capital Partners LP, an investment management firm that invests in both public and private markets, and General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm. This latest financing round brings the company’s total funding to $183 million. Duolingo will use the new capital to fuel continued investment into the research and development of its suite of global language-learning products, as well as to accelerate the growth and expansion of its team.
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Duolingo is the most popular way to learn a new language. The company has seen robust growth every year since its creation in 2011, with more than 500 million total app downloads and over 100% revenue increases during each of the past three years. While learning content on Duolingo is free, the company has grown its revenue with advertising and a paid subscription offering, Duolingo Plus, which removes ads and provides other additional features.
“Duolingo is the kind of business that matches what we look for in our investments: they are mission-driven, have a great culture, and great people that can compound significantly over time,” said Henry Ellenbogen, founder and chief investment officer of Durable Capital Partners LP. “Luis is also an incredible entrepreneur, and we’re very excited to partner with Duolingo for their next phase of growth.”
Tanzeen Syed, Managing Director at General Atlantic, commented, “We are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Luis and Duolingo after initially investing in the business in April 2020. Duolingo has successfully built foundational learning technology, an effective and engaging product, and a passionate community of users. We believe the company has additional opportunity to strengthen its market-leading position and expand its product, team, and customer base, while capitalizing on the global acceleration in digital learning.”
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Additional recent developments at Duolingo include:
- New efficacy research: an August 2020 study found that Duolingo’s Spanish and French courses each teach the equivalent of four semesters of university language instruction, in half the time.
- Launch of Duolingo ABC: in March 2020, Duolingo launched a new app, Duolingo ABC, which is designed to teach children ages 3-7 how to read. The app, which is 100% free and available for iOS, features more than 300 fun, bite-sized lessons teaching the alphabet, phonics, and sight words.
- Breakthrough of the Duolingo English Test: The Duolingo English Test, Duolingo’s convenient and affordable online English certification exam, has seen significant adoption in the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with 1500% year-over-year growth in test-takers. More than 2500 higher-education institutions – including Yale University, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Georgia Tech, and NYU – accept the Duolingo English Test as a form of English certification among applicants.
- Appointment of experienced new board members – earlier this year, Duolingo added former US Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton as well as veteran tech executives Amy Bohutinsky and Sara Clemens to its Board of Directors.
- Team growth – The company has grown from 200 employees at the end of 2019 to 350 today, with growth in headcount across Duolingo’s offices in Pittsburgh, New York City, Seattle, and Beijing.
“At Duolingo, we’re driven by our mission to develop the best education in the world and make it universally available. I’m proud of the impact we have achieved while also significantly growing our business,” said Luis von Ahn, CEO and co-founder of Duolingo. “In welcoming Durable as our newest investor, and securing General Atlantic’s deepened commitment, we look forward to partnering with them and using this new capital to further scale our business and bring Duolingo to millions more people worldwide.”
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