Duolingo is like having a personal language coach in the palm of your hand. It's fun, quirky and a hundred times less painful than the ol' textbook method. The app was released publicly in June 2012. It was developed by a Carnegie Mellon University professor—Luis von Ahn—and his grad student, Severin Hacker. Ain't that one of the coolest real world names you've heard in a long time?
From the very beginning, they had a purpose. Von Ahn's motivation to create Duolingo was as strong as Guatemalan coffee. He grew up in the country, where he witnessed the high cost of learning English first-hand.
Hacker, is a Swiss technologist on a mission to make education accessible to all. He believes that free education will really change the world. Way to go, Severin!
So why bring all of this up now? Aside from their huge success as an app, Duolingo is killing it on TikTok. They've got 5.7M followers and 113M Likes. Their content is off the hook and Duo the Owl is on a tear all over the world.
It's a perfect case study on how an idea becomes a product, a product becomes a business, and a business becomes a worldwide platform.
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.