500 million registered users, 40 million active learners, $190 million in revenues in 2020 and a mascot that will cry animated tears in your inbox if you miss a language lesson. Yes, we’re talking about Duolingo, the iconic Pittsburgh startup and now one of Time magazine’s 2021 most influential companies.
The edtech unicorn found itself next to global powerhouses, vaccine heroes, tech disrupters and brands that are shaping the way we live, work and play.
Duolingo was founded in 2011 by MacArthur “genius” Luis von Ahn and Carnegie Mellon University doctoral student-turned-chief technology officer, Severin Hacker. It is the first Pittsburgh startup to reach a $1 billion valuation, and today it is one of the most popular educations apps in the world and valued at $2.4 billion.
“This is a testament to our incredible team and the impact we’ve had in bringing high-quality, accessible education to over 500 million people worldwide. We believe that education has the power to reduce economic inequality and will continue to do our part to help build a more equitable world,” Luis von Ahn said.
Pittsburgh’s story is one of invention and reinvention. We have roots in a culture of creating materials that built the world, and while today’s industries continue to contribute in the same way, our commitment to innovation and R&D has made Pittsburgh a future-focused laboratory for next-gen development.
The region has seen historic brownfields redeveloped, and new industries have emerged and jobs are being created because of them. Our region’s leadership is evident from its transformational work in this space. But how we marry our industry strengths with our desire for a sustainable environment – our reinvention – lies a powerful movement.
A Pennsylvania initiative is breathing new life into decommissioned coal-fired power plants. The initiative thrusts opportunity back into communities that once relied on the coal plants and can return jobs to a recreated site. Experts – like Denise Brinley, executive director of Pennsylvania’s Office of Energy – say this can be an environmental, energy and economic win.