Alphabet Beneficiary Duolingo Making its Mark

Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is funding an exciting new enterprise.

Language-learning app Duolingo has opened up new opportunities for smartphone users. Being bilingual looks great on a resume, can open life up to new cultural opportunities, and research has shown it can even delay symptoms of dementia. Now with a new round of funding from Alphabet, the fast-growing language-learning platform is looking to expand its technology, marketing and staff.

Duolingo, which offers the most-downloaded education app in the world, just raised $30 million in a Series F funding from Alphabet’s CapitalG late-stage growth venture fund, becoming the first Pittsburgh-based tech start-up valued at more than $1 billion.

Duolingo’s new valuation is $1.5 billion. It has raised a total of $138 million, including from existing investors such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Union Square Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Drive Capital, Ashton Kutcher and Tim Ferriss.

Duolingo has seen a big jump in bookings, from $1 million less than three years ago to $100 million.

Duolingo has added to the growth from its core language-learning app with new products, including podcasts for Spanish and French learning, and Duolingo Events, which connect language learners in person around the world.

Chief among new additions is Duolingo Plus, a subscription-based option for the app that removes ads and provides additional features.

Alphabet began trading Wednesday at $1,315.81, up $21.07, or 1.6%, from Tuesday’s close, in a 52-week trading range of $977.66 to $1,333.92.