Dulingo, a Pittsburgh language learning business-based company with a market value of $2.4 billion, has filed for official release. The 400-person company, which we explored brilliantly in our EC-1, was co-founded by Captcha and Recapcha and Severin hacker inventor Louis von Ahn, One of the most revealing pieces of its history. It’s a way to monetize as a rare educational technology consumer business outside of Silicon Valley. The company has had a somewhat arduous journey to find the perfect business model, full of trials and errors. Despite his real dislike for his mission to provide free education, he landed on donations.
Fortunately, S-1 revealed that its previous decisions had led to strong revenue growth in the company. Most of Dulingo’s earnings come from subscriptions. For example, in recent calendar years, the educational technology giant has earned 73% of its total subscription revenue. These earnings were followed by advertising revenue and the Dulingo English Test (DET), which accounted for 17% and 10% of their revenue, respectively. Top line in 2020 (specifically, Von Ahn expected 20% of Dulingo’s earnings to be DET for 2019; he failed to reach some distance). Much of this is seen to pay off in the business model as the company’s revenue increased from $ 70.8 million in 2012 to $ 161.7 million in 2020, an increase of 129%. Of course, that increase would have occurred without some recent global epidemics, but it is not difficult to see some COVID-related acceleration in numbers. Dulingo also earned $ 55.4 million in the first quarter of 2021, representing 97% growth over the previous year.
Recently, the company has become profitable on a solid basis. However, on strict accounting terms, the net loss for Duolingo has increased. For example, in the three months ended March 31, 2021, the company had a net loss of $ 13.5 million, a sharp increase over the same period last year when it had a loss of $2.2 million. And from 2019 to 2020, the company’s GAAP net loss has expanded from $13.6 million to $15.8 million.