What is Duolingo?
Duolingo is a language learning platform for the PC or mobile device. They currently have 28 languages available to learn for free. The overarching mission of the company is to provide the world with free of charge language learning. This is a noble venture indeed, one can take it upon themselves using the internet to learn languages for free, but it is not easy. The Duolingo app makes learning easy and fun for users. As a matter of fact, many schools use the app in the classroom to teach various languages to children. This comes in very handy as education budgets are slashed all over the world due to the slow recovery from the last economic downturn.
How Duolingo Makes Money
The method to make money is pretty simple here. The app and browser addition push advertisements to users during lesson time. One may get rid of the advertisements by paying for a subscription. In addition, they have received several rounds of funding, the most recent one being $83 million from Google. The fact that the sole focus of the company is to freely deploy information is what got Google interested in supporting it. They currently sell branded merchandise, but revenues there are not enough to keep the company afloat. They are also in the process of creating other ways to make money, which will be reviewed in the next section.
Since the purpose of Duolingo is to bring free education to the masses, they have recently been looking at new ways to monetize use. It looks like they will be testing this on users in the near future. They are looking at where they can insert more advertising and offering additional user options as pay as you go services. Another idea they will be testing are tourism type advertisements geared at the lesson plans, for example, Duolingo could strike a deal with France to promote French tourism among those learning French on the site or app.
Duolingo was born at Carnegie Mellon University to a computer science professor and his graduate student, Luis von Ahn, and Severin Hacker, respectively. The original purpose of the program was to solve two problems, one to teach people another language and the second to have translations done in a redundant manner. The problem being solved here is that learning a new language can be very expensive and the professor was eager to bring the costs down for people wanting to emigrate to places that could bring them better lives.