Essay on Duolingo

2777 Words May 3rd, 2016 12 Pages
Duolingo: Global at Inception

“We believe everyone should have access to education of the highest quality – for free”
-Duolingo’s Team

On June19th, 2012 a new platform for learning different languages, Duolingo, was released to the market in the hopes of providing high quality education to the masses. Nowadays, Duolingo has over 100 million users, has won awards like the IPhone app of the year and Google’s best of the best in 2013 among others (Duolingo, s.f.). This paper will focus on how Duolingo was born and has successfully expanded throughout markets around the world using internationalization theory “Born globals” as base.


Luis von Ahn, computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University and inventor of the
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This way, Duolingo could offer the courses for free and get money for the documents translated. A business model called Crowd Sourcing.

Once the business model was created, the project received a National Science Foundation of $482,052.00 grant for sponsoring on March 16th, 2011 (National Science Foundation, 2011). With this money von Ahn and Hacker developed a private beta version of Duolingo that was launched on November 30th, 2011. Due to the success this version had –the beta version had over 100,000 people on its waiting list and had translated over 10,000 by December 2011 (The Verge, 2011) - the project received 3, 3 million of funding from Union Square Ventures and from an independent investment made by Hollywood celebrity, Ashton Kutcher (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2012).

The final version of Duolingo was launched to the public on June 19, 2012 with more than 175,000 active users and 75 million translated sentences, offering opportunities to learn English, French, German and Spanish (Business Wire, 2012). By 2014, Duolingo had added to its language portfolio Portuguese and Italian and reached over 10 million users world wide (Duolingo, 2014). The following graph (graph 1.1) shows the active user distribution around the globe by 2014.

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