Duolingo is a free languagelearning program that is taking the world by storm with its
learning website and app that has over 105 million people signed up. Duolingo aims to
help anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or computer to learn different languages. The app
is a huge success and Au’loni Magazine was lucky enough to have the opportunity to
chat with CEO and cofounder, Luis von Ahn, about the successful learning platform.
Duolingo is the most popular languagelearning platform worldwide, what makes
Duolingo so unique?
“Duolingo is 100% free, designed to feel like a game and scientifically proven to be
effective. An independent study by the City University of New York has shown that 34
hours on Duolingo is equivalent to a university semester of language classes.”
What is Duolingo’s mission?
“Duolingo’s mission is to make free, high quality language courses accessible to all.
Selected by Apple as iPhone App of the Year in 2013, by Google as Best of the Best for
Android in 2013 and 2014, Duolingo is the most downloaded app in the “Education”
category on Android and iOS worldwide.”
How is Duolingo so effective?
“Duolingo effectiveness is due to its use of machine learning algorithms that understand
userlearning patterns to create personalized lessons. By analyzing millions of data
points, these algorithms are used to constantly optimize the rate at which people acquire
I’ve read that there is also a Duolingo for Schools, can you describe what that
“Duolingo for Schools is a free platform that allows teachers, parents, school
administrators, and even governments to teach more effectively with Duolingo. More
than 100,000 teachers use Duolingo for Schools to track their students’ progress, assign
homework and conduct interactive in class activities.”
How successful profitwise has Duolingo been since launching in 2012?
“Duolingo has raised US $83.3 million in investments from Google Capital, Union
Square Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
some of the same investors behind Twitter and Tumblr. Other investors include actor
Ashton Kutcher and author Tim Ferriss.”
Ahn has had much success throughout his life as the inventor of CAPTCHA and
reCAPTCHA. He sold two companies to Google in his 20s, awarded the MacArthur
Genius grant for his accomplishments, selected as one of the 10 most brilliant scientists
in Popular Science, one of the 50 best brains in Science by Discovery, one of the most
innovative people under 35 by the MIT Technology Review, and one of the 100 most
innovative people by Fast Company. Ahn is also a professor at Carnegie Mellon
University and has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Forbes, The
Wall Street Journal and other media worldwide. If that didn’t impress you, I don’t know
For more information about Duolingo you can check out the website at
You can also download the free app for your smartphone from
your phone’s app store.