What Duolingo’s S-1 tells you about building a product-led business

Duolingo is going public and here are some key insights from their S-1 filing. Duolingo is a great example of a product – led company and that shows up in their numbers.

Duolingo’s S-1 shows how data, tech & gamification can deliver a superior online learning experience. 90% user growth came from organic channels & 70%+ revenue from subscriptions – a phenomenal freemium edtech business. 🧵on learnings from the S-1 (1/5)
🏫There are more people in US learning on Duolingo than there are foreign language learners in all US high schools combined! 🧑‍🏫 People who complete 1/2 a course on Duolingo learn as much as students taking 4 university semesters of language education 😳 (2/5)
👨‍💻40M MAUs – huge runway for growth with 1.8B global language learners 📈 DAU/MAU grew from ~15% in ‘16 to ~25% in ‘21 💵 ~5% MAUs are paid users 📱Users complete 0.5B+ exercises daily on the app – world’s largest language learning dataset! (3/5)
🚀 Revenue doubled YoY to $162M in 2020 📊Revenue split: 73% subs, 17% ads, 10% Duolingo English Test (DET) 💰70%+ gross margin! 📈 DET revenue grew from $1M to $15M YoY – accepted by 2000+ universities globally!! 👶 Launched Duolingo ABC for kids aged 3-6 (4/5)
🔎 9x more Google searches for “Duolingo” than for the phrase “learn Spanish” 🚀Solid word of mouth – from 2011-19, Duolingo spent only ~$15M on external marketing even as it was downloaded 100s of millions of times (5/5)

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