Dec 4, 2019

Google backs Duolingo, Pittsburgh's first unicorn

 Illustration of the duolingo owl with dollar signs as eyes.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Duolingo, a Pittsburgh-based language-learning platform, raised $30 million in Series F funding led by Alphabet's CapitalG at a $1.5 billion valuation.

Why it matters: It's the Steel City's first-ever unicorn, and claims to be the world's most-downloaded education app.

Other investors include Union Square Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, NEA, Drive Capital, Ashton Kutcher, and Tim Ferriss.

The bottom line: "Duolingo said it will use the new funding to increase its employee base by 50%, with a plan to reach 300 by the end of next year. Part of it will go into new initiatives like podcasts, and a $49 English proficiency test for international students accepted by more than 400 institutions." — Jacob Douglas, CNBC

Go deeper