With a recent valuation of $2.4 billion, Duolingo has filed to go public.
If you don’t know, Duolingo is the top ed-tech app in the world. Its free language-learning platform has made education accessible to billions of people, and it is one of the success stories of a startup growing to the point of an IPO without being located on the coasts.
Duolingo founders Luis von Ahn (who invented CAPTCHA and re-CAPTCHA) and Severin Hacker have strong ties to Carnegie Mellon University, one of the world’s leading computer science universities. The two have hired top talent to drive their business forward, and now they are on the verge of one of Pittsburgh’s biggest IPOs.
Arriving to Pittsburgh in the lush, green summer of 2008 as a freshman Humanities major at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Emily Kennedy never would have imagined that she would one day found a company that would represent the United States in a global AI competition.
But that’s where Kennedy, cofounder of Marinus Analytics, found herself last month: on stage representing the United States at the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition. The company was a finalist, standing out from 800 competitors with its AI platform aiding law enforcement agencies as they combat human trafficking. Marinus is an AI for good company, using technology to significantly impact the world and cease one of the world’s darkest underbellies.
The journey from point A to point B is not that simple, though. It’s more like a journey from point A to point Z, with twists, turns and backflips along the way. Kennedy and the team at Marinus have traveled this road with the intention of getting sh*t done and making a meaningful global impact. That journey started in Pittsburgh.