Duolingo is a language-learning platform that includes a website, an app, and a sociopathic owl mascot that specializes in threatening users to continue their courses. From passive-aggressive notifications after a period of inactivity to visiting your bedroom while you’re asleep, it knows no limits. As the owl became more and more confident in its wicked ways, some of the 300 million Duolingo users started creating memes to tell about the times it came hunting for them. That’s right, it doesn’t matter if they’re learning conjunctions or idioms, the owl is always watching. Waiting. And if they haven’t completed their daily task by midnight, it’s a bloody nightmare. Continue scrolling and enjoy some of the funniest Duolingo memes from Twitter, Instagram and pretty much any other corner of the internet!
The Duolingo project was started in 2009 in Pittsburgh by Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis von Ahn (creator of reCAPTCHA) and his graduate student Severin Hacker. Initially, Luis Von Ahn wanted to create a program that would both teach its users a foreign language and have them translate simple phrases in documents, though the translation feature has since been removed.
The project was originally sponsored by Luis von Ahn’s MacArthur fellowship and a National Science Foundation grant. Additional funding came from an investment Union Square Ventures and actor Ashton Kutcher’s firm, A-Grade Investments.
Duolingo started its private beta on November 30, 2011, and more than 300,000 users joined the waiting list. On June 19, 2012, Duolingo launched for the general public. Due to popular interest, it has received many investments including a $20 million Series C round of investment led by Kleiner Caufield & Byers and a $45 million Series D round of investment led by Google Capital. Currently, Duolingo employs 95 people, of whom many had been working for Google.
All language-learning features in Duolingo are free of charge, but it uses periodic advertising in both its mobile and web browser applications. Users can get rid of it by paying a subscription fee.
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