Duolingo Named to Time Magazine's List of 100 Most Influential Companies
By Aaron AupperleeMedia Inquiries
- School of Computer Science
The language learning app appeared on the list alongside tech heavyweights Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter; electronic vehicle competitors Tesla, GM and VW; entertainment powerhouses Disney, Sony, Nintendo and Netflix; COVID-19 vaccine heroes Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson; and other apps like Strava, Headspace, Clubhouse and Bumble.
Duolingo co-founder and CEO Luis von Ahn, a CMU alumnus and faculty member, said the company was honored by the mention.
"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," von Ahn said.
Von Ahn started Duolingo with one of his doctoral students, Severin Hacker, who earned his Ph.D. from CMU in 2014. Hacker is the company's chief technology officer. The pair kept the company in Pittsburgh after it spun out of CMU in 2011.
"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
Duolingo has grown into one of the most successful CMU spinoffs and Pittsburgh tech companies. The company was the first Pittsburgh startup to reach a $1 billion valuation in late 2019, when a round of funding brought it to $1.5 billion. Less than a year later, the company was valued at $2.4 billion — the most valued startup in Pennsylvania.
In selecting its list, Time focused on companies that are shaping the future. It solicited nominations from health care, entertainment, transportation, technology and other sections, and evaluated nominees on factors like relevance, impact, innovation, leadership, ambition and success to compile their list.