With the onset of the pandemic, the shift to online education has been accelerated, and edtech platforms like BYJU’s have reaped profits from the shift. Apart from conventional subjects, people have also taken to online platforms to learn new skills or sharpen existing ones, including language. Pittsburgh-based language-learning company Duolingo, which is one of the most highly valued private start-ups in the history of Pittsburgh, has recorded a rise of 129% in revenue to $161.7 million, and has now officially filed to go public through a US IPO on Monday, planning to list on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “DUOL.”
The quarter ended on March 31 saw Duolingo rake in $55.4 million in revenue, a rise of 97% from last year, while net losses increased by six times to $13.5 million.
Founded in 2011 by Luis von Ahn, the inventor of CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA, and Severin Hacker, the app offers 95 courses across 38 distinct languages — from the world’s most spoken, such as Spanish, French and Italian, to endangered languages like Hawaiian, Navajo, and Scottish Gaelic. It also offers the Duolingo English Test, a test which is accepted by universities worldwide. It counts among its investors Kleiner Perkins, Union Square Ventures, and Alphabet’s independent growth fund CapitalG. The IPO is being led by Goldman Sachs, Allen & Company, Evercore ISI, and Barclays.
The majority of the company’s revenue comes from subscriptions. In the most recent calendar year, it generated 73% of its total top line from subscription incomes. This was followed by advertising incomes (accounting for 17%) and the Duolingo English Test (DET) (accounting for 10%). More than half (51%) of its revenue came from the Apple App Store and 19% from the Google Play Store, and with more than 500 million downloads and becoming the top-grossing app in the education category on both Google Play and the Apple App Store, it is the “go-to” place to learn new languages, namely Spanish.
Duolingo’s valuation came at $2.4 billion last November after a $35 million funding round from Durable Capital Partners and General Atlantic. To date, it has raised around $183.3 million in venture capital.