Duolingo, the growing language learning app, files for IPO

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Boasting strong growth and revenue momentum, language learning app maker Duolingo Inc. filed for an initial public offering on Monday.

The Pittsburgh-based company, which claims it has more than 500 million downloads and offers courses in 40 languages ​​to approximately 40 million monthly active users, relies on an advertising-based “freemium” business model in which the Most of its users do not pay. for its offers.

Duolingo did not specify how much it expects to raise when it goes public. Its last published valuation was $ 2.4 billion, after confirming that it raised $ 35 million in November from Durable Capital and General Atlantic.

The company said in its file with the Securities and Exchange Commission that its revenue more than doubled, from $ 70.8 million in 2019 to $ 161.7 million in 2020. During the quarter ended March 31 , the company also more than doubled year-over-year revenue to $ 55.4 million from $ 28.1 million. He also said that nearly three-quarters of his last quarterly income came from Duolingo Plus subscriptions at $ 7 per month, while about 17% came from advertising sales and about 11% came from the Duolingo English test (which is used as proof of English proficiency for international admissions around the world) and other income. The company’s net loss reached $ 15.8 million last year, up from $ 13.6 million in 2019.

Duolingo has two classes of shares. Each Class A share is worth one vote and each Class B share is worth 20 votes, according to its prospectus. Its main shareholders are NewView Capital, which owns 20.1% of the class B shares, two co-founders who each own 14.8% and Union Square Ventures, which owns 14.2%. In addition, CapitalG owns 13.7% of the class B shares, Kleiner Perkins 10.5% and General Atlantic 7.1%.

Managing Director Luis von Ahn and CTO Severin Hacker, former professor and PhD holder. student, respectively, at Carnegie Mellon University, co-founded Duolingo in 2009. In a three-sentence letter from the founder, von Ahn – who also founded reCAPTCHA, which was sold to Google – told potential investors that Duolingo was just getting started: “The main thing you need to know is that I plan to dedicate my life to building a future in which, through technology, every person on this planet has access to the highest quality of education.

The company has ambitions beyond language learning and wants to expand its “gamified and mobile approach to education,” she said in her brief. Last year, she launched Duolingo ABC, an app that teaches young children early literacy skills.

The company said it applied to be listed on Nasdaq under the symbol DUOL. The IPO will be led by Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co., two of the 10 underwriters listed in the prospectus.


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