Duolingo’s competition is TikTok and Netflix

Once a PhD project, the company is expanding fast.

Singdhi Sokpo

Bill Gates and Khloé Kardashian probably don’t have a ton of common interests. But, per Bloomberg, Duolingo is one of them.

Launched in 2012, the gamified language app has transformed from a PhD project into a 500-person public company now on a mission to make profits.

The app, which views sites like TikTok and Netflix as its competition, now boasts ~15m daily users, up 51% YoY, and 3.7m paid subscribers. Barring any unexpected fiscal blowback over its highly controversial redesign, revenue this year is projected to surpass $365m, up 45% YoY.

  • The company is now expanding through in-app purchases, subjects like reading and math, and a $49 online English test accepted at 4k+ institutions that made ~$25m last year.

Fun fact: Duolingo co-founder Luis von Ahn invented the web authentication tool CAPTCHA, which he gave to Yahoo for free, and reCAPTCHA, which he sold to Google.

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