Gamified web translation startup Duolingo announced today that it has raised $15 million in a series B round of funding led by New Enterprise Associates and Union Square Ventures, who participated in the company’s $3.3 million round last year alongside Ashton Kutcher and Tim Ferriss. The translation startup plans to use the newly acquired funds to expand its available languages, which currently include Spanish, French, German, and English.
The free translation service tasks its users with translating bite-sized chunks of the web at a time, effectively teaching them a new language as they go. Users will unlock new levels, badges, and coins as they progress through each set of lessons, and can even rate other users’ translations based on accuracy.
Co-founder and CEO Luis von Ahn launched the startup in June with the ambitious goal of translating the internet, and the service continues to see 250,000 users coming back each week. In the future von Ahn said he hopes to bring Duolingo to mobile platforms and implement dozens more languages over the next few years.
NEA’s Harry Weller will be joining the Duolingo board of advisors following the recent investment. Weller praised the web translation startup, pointing to its “elegantly architected” and learning-focused platform as the company’s biggest successes so far. “We view this as an opportunity to partner with an exceptional founding team in a space we’re very excited about,” said Weller.
The Duolingo platform is currently free to use, with new features and updates steadily being implemented over its first year of operation. According to TechCrunch, the website will soon begin allowing users to upload their own text to be translated by the community for a small fee — von Ahn’s plan to monetize the platform for those in need of quality translations.