The co-founder and CEO of Duolingo, Luis Von Ahn, calls it “fantastic” that Brazil is the second largest market for the application (behind the United States), in addition to being the country that most studies the English language in the world. world.
Von Ahn spoke exclusively to CNN Brasil Business about the trajectory of the app, which will complete 10 years in 2022, and anticipated that the platform plans a new interface and a new app for teaching mathematics.
The company plans to gradually roll out the interface update to the platform’s learners in the coming weeks.
According to the platform, among the novelties, the app will have more direct instructions to better guide students, in the form of useful guides and will offer a more streamlined experience for Duolingo to better assess its own effectiveness and improve the level of learning of users in the app. .
Counting over 500 million downloads worldwide, the app offers over 100 courses in 40 languages. Von Ahn said that among the “students” of the app is the billionaire founded by Microsoft Bill Gates.
Gates used the app to learn the French language “for a while,” as he said in a Reddit post. The information was confirmed to CNN Brasil Business through the entrepreneur’s personal office.
In Brazil, Duolingo reached 30 million downloads, with the most studied languages in the country being English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.
The app is largely free, but it also offers a paid service, called Duolingo Plus, with a monthly fee of R$14.99 a month. The paid version already has 2.5 million subscribers. In Brazil, 11% of users use this version.
For the Brazilian public, Duolingo launched, in March, the second season of the podcast “Histórias em Inglês”, an exclusive program for the country. According to the company, the first had a good reception, remaining for weeks in the first place in the ranking of the most listened to podcasts on Spotify, being the most listened to in Brazil in the education category.
In July last year, the company debuted on Nasdaq, an American stock exchange that brings together shares of technology companies. At the launch of its IPO, it was valued at $6.5 billion after its shares soared nearly 40%. The company raised US$ 521 million with the sale of about 5.1 million shares.
Von Ahn also mentions the impact of the War in Ukraine on the app. Since the beginning of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the number of students studying Ukrainian on Duolingo has grown by 577%. The language jumped more than 10 positions in the app’s world ranking of courses, being the 21st most popular on the platform.
According to information from Duolingo, the Russian also rose from one position on the platform, going to 8th place. The United States leads the number of students studying Ukrainian on the app, followed by Poland, which moved from fifth to second position, growing by 2,677%.
In Brazil, before the start of the conflict, Ukrainian was the 31st most studied language on the platform, and now it is in the 14th position.
Here are the main points of the interview:
A balance sheet of the company over the ten years
Luis Von Ahn: we have made great progress in the company’s first 10 years. We have become the most popular language app in the world. We reach a large number of users and have a presence in all countries.
I like that we put in smaller languages like Irish. There are more people learning Irish through Duolinguo (1.25 million), compared to the number of speakers in the country’s education system – 558,608 in 2016, according to the Central Statistical Office (CSO), the national office of Ireland statistics.
Something that really stands out in these ten years was that, in 2017, I found out that Duolingo was being used by Syrian refugees. And, at the same time, I discovered that Bill Gates was using the app to learn French.
This is interesting, because billionaires have a lot more resources, more education, more of everything. But the case is the same tool being used by these two extremes. That was the proudest moment with Duolingo.
Luis Von Ahn: For the next few years, we intend, first, to continue expanding the languages offered, particularly English, which is the most sought after by Brazilians and the most desired by people to learn. We want to teach basic literature to children, these goals are still being planned, but we are very excited.
For this year, one of the big changes, is that there will be a complete redesign of the home screen, it will look entirely. Let’s start distributing for now, still in the first semester.
I hope this brings courage and new users to the app. We work to make people spend more time learning. For this year, it’s the biggest thing we’re going to bring. Another thing we plan on is teaching math, probably in the same time frame.
Brazil is the second largest consumer of all of our platform, this is fantastic and we love it. In the ranking of countries with the most daily users, Brazil is behind the United States and followed by the United Kingdom, Germany and India.
We have doubled the number of people who use the app for more than an hour in Brazil. We doubled the number of highly engaged users. We want to continue delivering this growth to the Brazilian market.
Brazil is one of the key markets we focus on. We have users in all countries, but we have five markets that we focus on the most, and Brazil is one of them.
I still cannot say if we will have more exclusive products for the country, but, for sure, all launches will be made available as soon as possible, given the importance of the market.
technology in education
In the last ten years, I would say artificial intelligence has grown a lot and we’ve made good use of it.
Another point was the customization of the structure. When we started, everyone had the same lessons. Now every user has something different. We have complete customization.
Debut on Nasdaq
I think we’re operating in a much better way than we were before. We have more discipline and more capital, because when we went to Nasdaq.
In terms of the products, some say that just because we are now a publicly traded company, we will do things differently. This is not the case, we will continue to operate with companies in the same way, that is, continue with the majority of users learning 100% free of charge.
Impacts of the pandemic
Globally, because of the pandemic, with people in lockdownwe identified a growth in the number of users.
During the pandemic, the number of highly active students increased by 60%. Then it decreased by 20% and is now 15% higher than it was during the pandemic. With the improvement of the Covid-19 scenario, we fell a little, but we remain at a very high level.
This also happened with the number of users. We saw a rise, then a slight drop and we kept it at pre-pandemic levels. Not just in Brazil, but in all other countries.
Source: CNN Brasil