Duolingo, the free language learning service which translates websites, has raised a USD15m series B round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation from existing investor Union Square Ventures.
Helmed by computer scientist and crowd-sourcing pioneer Luis von Ahn, the company will use the funds to accelerate international growth and bolster its team of engineering talent.
"Today more than 50 per cent of online content is available only in English, and we see this as a powerful opportunity," says von Ahn. "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 USD30bn language translation market," says 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."