Millions of people, from celebrities to international business leaders, have taken Duolingo up on its offer to learn a new language in less than five minutes a day, free.
The online language learning app has over 103 courses in 40 different languages and is now the most popular way to learn a language. Duolingo boasts 42 million monthly active users.
So what is the secret to the company’s success? And can it succeed on the balance sheet as well as it has with online customers?
Luis von Ahn, co-founder and CEO of Duolingo (DUOL) - Get Duolingo, Inc. Class A Report, told Jim Cramer on a recent episode of "Mad Money" that it was important that Duolingo be universally available, which is why there's a free, ad-supported version of their courses. However, most users opt to subscribe to the service and remove the ads.
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CEO von Ahn described Duolingo as a product-driven technology company that also happens to be the most popular way to learn new languages. He said their app is for more than just travel and is popular with people of all ages. The company has done very little marketing and relies on word of mouth to spread its story, von Ahn told Cramer.
Duolingo’s IPO was launched in July, beating estimates. It shot to record highs in late September, before declining in November back to where it began trading.
The secret of Duolingo's success is its data, von Ahn told Cramer. The company closely monitors customers' progress and knows every question they get wrong and why. Duolingo personalizes future lessons to improve success.