Luis Von Ahn, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and his graduate student Severin Hacker wanted to create an app that would serve double duty, teach a foreign language and translate simple phrases. Duolingo was created in 2011 in beta form and released to the public in 2012.
Duolingo is a language learning platform and mobile app that allows users to slowly learn the basics of a new language. As of November 2019, the language-learning website and app offer 94 different language courses in 23 languages. In August 2018, the company had more than 300 million registered users around the world. The app has a free version supported by advertisers or a paid version that is ad-free.
Duolingo’s fastest-growing language is the Scottish language Gaelic. Although the language was just added in early December 2019, in less than one month, users have reached 127,000.
The company has it’s critics, with a Forbes interviewing noting that, even after using Duolingo to learn Spanish for 6 months, the CFO of the company was confused by the basic phrase of “Hablas Espanol?” ( Do you speak Spanish?).
The corporate office for Duolingo is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.