New Enterprise Associates Leads $15M Series B in Duolingo
Duolingo, a free language learning service that translates websites into every major language, has raised a $15M Series B round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation from existing investor Union Square Ventures. Helmed by renowned computer scientist and crowd-sourcing pioneer Luis von Ahn, the company will use the funds to accelerate international growth and bolster its team of top engineering talent.
“Today more than 50 percent of online content is available only in English, and we see this as a powerful opportunity,” said Dr. von Ahn, Co-Founder and CEO, Duolingo. “By harnessing the output from millions of students, we can accurately translate online content and bring the rich resources of the Web to anyone. Given the strong and growing worldwide demand for language learning and translation services, especially in developing countries, NEA’s vast global network and growing focus on education makes the firm a natural partner for us as we expand internationally.”
Since its public launch in June 2012, Duolingo’s user community has grown to more than 250,000 active language learners and the company’s expanded offerings now include English, Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese. Italian and Chinese will be offered later this year, along with an iPhone app that will make Duolingo’s free service even more accessible to the more than 1.2 billion people currently learning a new language.
“Duolingo’s founders have fused a very ambitious mission—making the Web accessible to everyone—with an elegantly architected solution that simultaneously fuels worldwide language learning and targets a massive $30 billion language translation market,” said Harry Weller, General Partner, NEA. “We view this as an opportunity to partner with an exceptional founding team in a space we’re very excited about.”
Dr. von Ahn, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, co-founded Duolingo with his PhD student Severin Hacker in 2011. Dr. von Ahn is also co-inventor of the popular CAPTCHA and founder of the ESP Game (now Google Image Labeler, acquired by Google in 2004) and reCAPTCHA (acquired by Google in 2009), in which hundreds of millions of people help digitize books by typing CAPTCHAs on the web.
Duolingo is an online social platform that teaches users a new language while they simultaneously translate content across the web. Duolingo’s mission is to translate the web into every language, as well as make language education accessible to the masses. The company is based in Pittsburgh, Pa. For more information, visit the site at www.duolingo.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/duolingo, or follow Duolingo on Twitter at @Duolingo.
New Enterprise Associates (NEA) is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With approximately $13 billion in committed capital, the firm’s long track record includes more than 175 portfolio company IPOs and more than 290 acquisitions, including investments in technology leaders like Data Domain, CareerBuilder, Diapers.com, Fusion-io, Groupon, Juniper, Macromedia, Salesforce.com, and TiVo. In the U.S., NEA has offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; Menlo Park, California; and New York City. In addition, New Enterprise Associates (India) Pvt. Ltd. has offices in Bangalore and Mumbai, India and New Enterprise Associates (Beijing), Ltd. has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, China. For additional information, visit www.nea.com.
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