Duolingo Revenue and Usage Statistics (2021)

David Curry

Updated: July 1, 2021

Duolingo was part of a free education wave that hit the internet in the early 2010s, as entrepreneurs saw the tools of the web and mobile to as a way to open up entrenched institutions to the masses.

Luis von Ahn, who already had success selling two businesses to Google in his 20s, saw an opportunity to turn the language learning model on its head. Instead of having to pay-per-hour or subscribe, Duolingo would be free to all, enabling people from all backgrounds to learn a new language.

Speaking to The Guardian in 2014, von Ahn said: “There are 1.2 billion people learning a foreign language and two thirds of those people are learning English so they can get a better job and earn more. The problem is that they don’t have equity and most language courses cost a lot of money.”

Duolingo was a hit even before its official launch. In November 2011, the team launched a private beta and within a month 300,000 people had signed up on a waitlist. Over 10 million people downloaded the app in the first 12 months.

Instead of building a classroom-style product in an app, Duolingo took cues from the world of gaming to enhance the experience and keep users engaged. Users can compete against friends and random people by completing courses and receive rewards for streaks.

Duolingo also separated itself from other language learning services by using data to its advantage. It regularly runs tests to find an optimal way to design a course, testing users on how quickly they learn part of the language and changing the formula to smooth the learning curve.

In the past few years, Duolingo has embedded artificial intelligence into the app, to analyze mistakes and slightly alter the course to fit user requirements.

As Duolingo started to grow, users asked for more obscure and fictional languages to be added. Von Ahn used his experience as one of the pioneers of crowdsourcing to launch Incubators, which pull together linguists, native speakers and book readers to design a fully optimized course.

These incubators are responsible for several courses Duolingo now offers, including Welsh, Catalan, Latin and fictional languages from Star Trek and George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.

As part of Ahn’s commitment to Duolingo being more than a game, it offers English language certification for $20, much lower than the $250 it can cost in India, China and other countries. Users are able to take the test on Duolingo and results are sent back in 48 hours.

Duolingo has been criticised for its lack of depth, as people who complete a course will only reach an A2 CEFR level, which is considered basic understanding of a language. In 2020, the company added more B1 and B2 level content, and plans to make courses even more in-depth with podcasts, freeform writing and audio lessons.

We have collected data and statistics on Duolingo users, revenue and course availability. Read on below to find out more.

Duolingo key statistics

  • Duolingo generated $161 million revenue in 2020, an 106 percent increase year-on-year
  • Duolingo has over 500 million registered users, 42 million are active once a month
  • In 2020, Duolingo was valued at $2.4 billion
  • Duolingo has 95 available courses in 38 languages

Duolingo overview

Launch date 19 June 2012
HQ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
People Luis von Ahn (CEO), Severin Hacker (CTO)
Industry Language learning
Business type Public (NASDAQ: DUOL)
Available platforms iOS, Android, web

Duolingo revenue

Year Revenue
2017 $13 million
2018 $36 million
2019 $78 million
2020 $161 million

Note: *Total bookings, revenue may be lower

Sources: TechCrunch

Duolingo users

Year Users
2013 5 million
2014 10 million
2016 30 million
2018 25 million
2019 30 million
2020 42 million

Sources: MIT, Forbes, Fast Company, Crunchbase, TechCrunch

Duolingo downloads

Year Downloads
2013 10 million
2014 25 million
2015 120 million
2016 150 million
2017 200 million
2018 300 million
2019 385 million
2020 500 million

Sources: TechCrunch, CNBC, Duolingo

Duolingo valuation

Year Valuation
2015 $470 million
2018 $700 million
2019 $1.5 billion
2018 $2.4 billion

Sources: VentureBeatGeekwire

Duolingo funding

Year Funding
2011 $3.3 million
2012 $18 million
2015 $83 million
2017 $108 million
2020 $148 million

Source: Crunchbase

Duolingo available courses

Year Available courses
2012 5
2014 11
2016 18
2018 62
2019 91
2020 95

Sources: TechCrunch, Duolingo

Duolingo available languages

Year Available languages
2012 1
2016 19
2020 38

Sources: TechCrunch, Duolingo

Duolingo users by language

English 399 million
Spanish 142 million
French 101 million
German 61 million
Italian 40 million
Portuguese 20 million

Note: This accounts for registered users, not active 

Source: Jakubmarian

Duolingo FAQ

What is Duolingo’s most popular course?

English for Spanish speakers is Duolingo’s most popular course, followed by Spanish for English speakers

How many Duolingo users pay for premium? 

Less than three percent of Duolingo users subscribe to its premium offering (BBC)

How many schools use Duolingo? 

Over 100,000 schoolteachers use Duolingo in foreign language classes

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