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Edtech unicorn, Duolingo files for an IPO


Source: My English Images

Duolingo is a Pittsburgh-based education technology start-up that provides a language-learning education platform with a total of 98 courses across nearly 40 distinct languages. With a valuation of over USD 2.4 billion, Duolingo has officially filed its paperwork to go public with an Initial Public Offering.

Founded back in 2011 by Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker, Duolingo enables anyone and everyone to learn languages for free. Its services also offer a premium subscription for USD 7 if the user wants to have a refined ad-free experience while learning a new language. Other than this, Duolingo delivers offline access and more through its services. According to the company profile on Crunchbase, the start-up enjoys over 30 million monthly active users that are learning new languages on its platform and thus, Duolingo has emerged to become one of the most downloaded educational apps in the world.

According to a report by TechCrunch, Duolingo’s entrepreneurial journey has been based on trial and error as it tried and tested multiple business models until it finally settled for a subscription-based model. However, this business model was strongly disregarded by the founders as it contradicted the company’s mission to offer free education. Nevertheless, Subscriptions is the one Duolingo settled for and it proved to become an asset for the company in every way possible without compromising on its vision and mission.

Today, a vast majority of the company’s revenue comes from subscriptions and with its multi-part business model, Duolingo’s revenue has risen from USD 70.8 million in 2019 to USD 161.7 million in 2020 i.e., a 129% revenue jump in just one year, according to a report by TechCrunch.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the major reason for many businesses to shut down but the education technology sector has drastically profited in the past two years. The same happened with Duolingo, at least this is what the revenue figures tell us. The revenue acceleration of 129% is unreal in most cases and with the digital push that the pandemic has given to the world, it has been a successful year for the edtech start-up.

Not just this, the acceleration continues as Duolingo generated USD 55.4 million in revenue during the first quarter of 2021 which represents a 97% growth since 2019 and that is absolutely massive. The education technology sector has largely benefitted from the COVID-19 pandemic as schools, colleges and educational institutions are all closed, people have been shut inside their houses, and education became largely dependent on online edtech platforms.

As far as the Initial Public Offering is concerned, Duolingo intends to raise over USD 100 million but it shall be confirmed after it sets an IPO price range.




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