Duolingo funding

HEDLINE: Duolingo raises $20 million Series C


Online and mobile language learning startup Duolingo raised a $20 million Series C led by Kleiner Perkins with participation of existing investors Union Square Ventures and New Enterprise Associates. This latest rounds brings the total funding raised to $38.3 million.

The new funding will be used to further develop the key product, mobile apps and translation services as well as hiring new staff and launching paid services.

The first paid product of Duolingo is going to be a proctored language certification via webcam and microphone at the relatively small fee of $20.

Duolingo also plans to release a group feature with analytics features that will enable language teachers to use the product better in their classes.

Key Takeaway

If you pull together the different quotes from Duolingo founder Luis von Ahn that appeared on re/code, TechCrunch and Mashable you will notice that the message is getting more aggressive towards the more established competitors.

“We figured out that we have more people learning language on a given day on Duolingo than in the whole U.S. school system.” re/code

“Our main goal going forward is to become the de facto way to learn a language.” TechCrunch

“We are already the largest way to learn languages online. The goal now is to just completely dominate and I think that we can do that.” Mashable

Duolingo now has more than 25 million users of which 12.5 million are currently active according to von Ahn. He sees the success of Duolingo based on its casual feel as learners don’t feel that they learn with but play with Duolingo.

“Our users aren’t hardcore. They are procrastinating and don’t want to feel as bad, so they open our app.” re/code

Von Ahn also sees a possibility in expanding the brand into other learning verticals like maths or programming, quite similar to what Rosetta Stone is currently trying with their line of products and brand.

Duolingo will also open a self-service translation platform in the coming months and work on getting more big brands on board for their translation services. Currently CNN and BuzzFeed are the only two official customers of Duolingo.

Further Reading

  • Language-Learning App Maker Duolingo Raises $20M From Kleiner Perkins | re/code
  • Duolingo Raises $20M Series C Led By Kleiner Perkins To Dominate Online Language Learning | TechCrunch
  • Duolingo Raises $20 Million to Build Out Education Empire | Mashable


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Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com.