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Language app Duolingo lands $25m investment

Language learning app Duolingo has welcomed a further $25m in funding, the company has announced, bringing the total amount of investment it has seen to over $100m.

DuolingoEnglish for Spanish speakers it the most popular course on Duolingo, with 125 million users. Photo: Duolingo

With 200 million users, Duolingo has become the most downloaded education app worldwide

The funding will be used to grow its product development and accelerate its hiring, the company has said.

This latest injection comes as a Series E round of funding, led by Ohio-based venture capital firm Drive Capital, increasing total funds the company has raised since launching in 2012 to $108.3m.

Currently, Duolingo is working on developing its use of artificial intelligence, according to Sam Dalsimer, a spokesperson at Duolingo, after launching chatbots for conversational practice on the app.

“Eventually we hope to replicate the quality of a human language tutor through the use of artificial intelligence”

“Eventually we hope to replicate the quality of a human language tutor through the use of artificial intelligence,” he told The PIE News. “This will allow anyone to receive the highest quality education, regardless of their financial means.”

And due to popular demand, Duolingo launched a Japanese language course in May this year.

This development has set a precedent for more Asian languages to be available on the app, said Dalsimer. The company plans to roll out Mandarin later this year, followed by Korean at some point in the future.

“It took a considerable amount of time and work to develop new ways to teach character-based languages,” he said.

“But that work laid the foundation to teach other Asian languages. There is huge demand among our users and around the world for a way to learn these languages for free,” Dalsimer added.

Chris Olsen, founding general partner at Drive Capital, the source of the $25m investment tranche, said Duolingo has “set itself apart as the hands-down market leader in language education”.

“Duolingo is fast becoming a mainstream consumer brand,” he said.

With 200 million users, it has become the most downloaded education app worldwide.

It is also continuing to roll out its Duolingo English Test, which finalised its pilot phase before the 2016/17 admissions cycle. It has now been taken up by over 90 educational institutions globally.

English for Spanish speakers is overwhelmingly the app’s most popular language, with 125 million users, followed by Spanish for English speakers, and French for English speakers with 97 million users and 57 million users, respectively.

Following this latest injection of funds, the company has been valued at $700m.

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