The Hustle

Language learning app Duolingo is headed for a multibillion-dollar IPO

Duolingo was last valued at $2.4B. Based on revenue and growth metrics, its IPO valuation should be higher.


July 1, 2021

How do you say “business is booming” in Spanish?

You can learn that from Duolingo, a language learning app that just filed to go public.

The edtech startup’s claim to fame is its UX: it gamifies learning via bite-sized lessons, badges, leveling, leaderboards, and — for good measure — a jolly little owl mascot.

Its co-founder Luis von Ahn…

… is actually the creator of the spam-fighting CAPTCHA. Launched in 2012, Duolingohas since blown up to become the top-grossing education app in both Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

According to TechCrunch, revenue in 2020 hit ~$162m, +129% YoY. While that gain can largely be attributed to COVID, Q1 2021 sales hit $55.4m (an annualized run rate of $220m).

While the app is free to use, subscriptions for premium features (which <3% of users have taken up) drive the majority of sales.

By the numbers

Per its SEC filing, Duolingo has:

The app’s current revenue and growth metrics mean it “should not have a problem clearing its privately set $2.4 billion price tag,” per TechCrunch.

Now, how do you say “cha-ching” in Vietnamese?

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