Startup Crush: Duolingo

Working at Dwolla provides some great perks. Seeing new acquaintances and old friends launch great projects are two of our favorites. In this series we share the stories of people, startups and ideas that are bringing beautiful products, simple services or improved processes to life. We can’t help it, we have startup crushes.


Duolingo is an online language learning program that helps you learn alongside your friends while also contributing to the translation of real-world content from the Web. Language learning tools and software have been on the rise, and Duolingo offers an attractive alternative to some of those pricey solutions, giving the world a well-designed and FREE platform to learn Spanish, English, German, Italian, Portugese or French.

How it works

As you learn, you progress is tracked in a “skill tree.” If you’ve had some experience with the language, you’ll have the ability to test out of certain levels and jump ahead.


Use a variety of different skill sets, from written to auditory translation. Complete challenges, such as the photo challenge shown below.

photo challenge

As your talent and confidence builds in the language you’ve chosen, start translating documents on the Web as a community. Whether you want to translate a few paragraphs, or just a few sentences, you determine how much work you want to do and get feedback on your translation.

We’re not the only ones excited about Duolingo – they’ve been receiving a lot of great attention lately, most recently from tech news sites like TechCrunch.

Start learning a new language today, join Duolingo.




  • Colin Dean

    I <3 duolingo.

  • Colin Maggs

    I started just now. Thanks for posting this here! I’m with you on the Duolingo crush!

  • DAOWAce

    No Japanese, blah. Don’t have any interest in learning any of the languages they currently support. Yeah, it wouldn’t hurt to be multilingual, but I’d rather put effort into something I actually want instead.

    • Rafael Archuleta is a great alternative to Duolingo and has many more languages to choose from, including Japanese. =)

  • Eric

    Last paragraph… “We’re not the only ones…” No apostrophe necessary.

    • CaityJones

      Oh man, embarrassing. Thanks, Eric!

    • Gaye Austin

      guess you don’t know your grammar rules…yes the apostrophe is needed, it is a contraction of we are; with the apostrophe it is now we’re