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Extra Crunch roundup: How Duolingo became an edtech leader

The pandemic has just pushed edtech mainstream, but language-learning startup Duolingo had already spent the past decade figuring out how to build a successful edtech app. In our latest installment of the EC-1 series, Natasha Mascarenhas goes deep with the company to understand how it found product-market fit, then figured out how to grow like a consumer tech startup and monetize like a SaaS startup. After a record 2020, the Pittsburgh-based company also opened up about its plans for the future,...
Tags: Startups, TC, Apps, Utah, Education, Ipo, Boston, Tech, CMO, Bloomberg, Paypal, United States, Nba, Square, Holland, SEC

Amazon’s over-the-top business, including IMDb TV and Twitch, tops 120M monthly viewers

Amazon’s free, ad-supported streaming service IMDb TV is getting its own mobile app. The company announced the news today at its first-ever NewFronts presentation to advertisers, where it also shared that its over-the-top streaming businesses combined — meaning, IMDb TV, Twitch, live sports like Thursday Night Football, Amazon’s News app and others — have now grown to more than 120 million monthly viewers. This over-the-top business, or Amazon OTT as it’s called, includes anywhere ads show up al...
Tags: Google, Amazon, Android, Mobile, Media, NFL, Tech, Fox, Streaming, Roku, Imdb, Twitch, Amazon Fire TV, Streaming Service, Pittsburgh, Mobile App

The product-led growth behind edtech’s most downloaded app

Duolingo CEO and co-founder Luis von Ahn was tired of the gray and dreary design aesthetic edtech companies used to emulate universities. Instead, he and the company’s early team sought inspiration from games like Angry Birds and Clash Royale, looking to build a class that screamed more cartoon anarchy than lecture hall. From that frenetic creativity came the company’s distinctive mascot: a childish and rebellious evergreen-colored owl named Duo. Duolingo didn’t just throw out the old colors tho...
Tags: Startups, TC, Education, Tech, EC, Edtech, Duolingo, Angry Birds, Pittsburgh, Luis Von Ahn, Tyler Murphy, Super Mario Brothers, Ahn, EC-1, EC Edtech, Duo Duolingo

How Duolingo became fluent in monetization

As its meandering route to monetization will demonstrate, Duolingo isn’t mission-oriented, it’s mission-obsessed. Co-founders Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker never wanted to charge consumers for access to Duolingo content, a purpose imbued throughout the company’s culture. For years in order to work at Duolingo, you had to be comfortable with joining a company in Pittsburgh that was in no rush to make money. The startup, filled with education enthusiasts and mission-driven employees, became “ver...
Tags: Google, Startups, TC, Education, Tech, Brazil, Silicon Valley, EC, Edtech, Duolingo, Sand Hill Road, Pittsburgh, Gordon, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers KPCB, Luis, Luis Von Ahn

Duolingo can’t teach you how to speak a language, but now it wants to try

Duolingo has been wildly successful. It has pulled in 500 million total registered learners, 40 million active users, 1.5 million premium subscribers and $190 million in booked revenues in 2020. It has a popular and meme-ified mascot in the form of the owl Duo, a creative and engaging product, and ambitious plans for expansion.There’s just one key question in the midst of all those milestones: Does anyone actually learn a language using Duolingo? “Language is first and foremost a social, relatio...
Tags: Startups, TC, Education, Obama, Tech, Edtech, Carnegie Mellon University, Duolingo, Babbel, Pittsburgh, Language Learning, Luis Von Ahn, Ahn, Busuu, EC-1, Bernhard Niesner

How a bot-fighting test turned into edtech’s most iconic brand, Duolingo

Luis von Ahn, an entrepreneur who has dedicated his career to scaling free education, has probably annoyed you more than once. In fact, you’ve likely been annoyed by his work dozens and maybe hundreds of times over the years. A decade before he co-founded the whimsical and language-learning app Duolingo, one of the most popular education apps in the world with over 500 million downloads and 40 million active users, he was building the technology that would become CAPTCHA, those human-annoying bu...
Tags: Google, Startups, TC, Education, Yahoo, Tech, Duke, Edtech, Carnegie Mellon University, Duolingo, Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Guatemala City, Luis Von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Ahn

The Duolingo EC-1

Education may well be the most important activity we conduct as a society — and it may also be the hardest space to build a startup in. Selling to school districts and universities is notoriously difficult, but enticing consumers is even harder. Learning takes focus, patience, tenacity and resources, and most consumers would prefer to watch some lip-sync videos on TikTok than stare at math equations (not to mention that such entertainment is free). Engagement and education feel aggressively at o...
Tags: Startups, TC, Education, Tech, EC, Edtech, Duolingo, Pittsburgh, Mascarenhas, Luis Von Ahn, Danny Crichton, EC-1, Richard Dal Porto, EC Edtech, Natasha Mascarenhas Mascarenhas, Nigel Sussman Duolingo

Extra Crunch roundup: Fintech stays hot, Brex doubles, and startup IRR is up all over

Tech companies in Silicon Valley, the geography, have had an incredible year. But one indicator points to longer-term changes. The internal rate of return (IRR) for companies in other startup hub cities has been even better. A big new analysis by AngelList showed aggregate IRR of 19.4% per year on syndicated deals elsewhere versus 17.5% locally. A separate measure, of total value of paid-in investment, revealed 1.67x returns for other hubs versus 1.60x in the main Silicon Valley and Bay Area tec...
Tags: Startups, TC, California, India, US, San Francisco, Tech, Austin, United States, Healthcare, SEC, Silicon Valley, Zomato, Biden, Seattle, Fintech

The 16 best Airbnbs in Pennsylvania, from a renovated textile mill in Philadelphia to an A-frame cabin in the Poconos

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more. Airbnb Pennsylvania is within easy driving distance of a large section of the East Coast and the Midwest. From cities like Philadelphia to outdoorsy areas like the Poconos, there's something for everyone. We found the best Airbnbs in Pennsylvania in popular areas across the state at a range of prices. Though vaccination rates continue to go up, travelers are still gravitating towards drivable destin...
Tags: Apple, Cdc, US, Trends, Pennsylvania, Maine, Andy Warhol, Philadelphia, Airbnb, University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln, Lake Erie, Verona, East Coast, Kensington, Gettysburg

Internal rates of return in emerging US tech hubs are starting to overtake Silicon Valley

Abe Othman Contributor Share on Twitter Abe Othman is the head of data science at AngelList Venture, where he leads a small team creating the new field of quantitative venture capital. He has founded two machine-learning companies with successful exits and invested in more than a dozen seed-stage companies. He received his A.B. from Harvard in Applied Math and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon. More posts by ...
Tags: TC, Column, Entrepreneurship, US, San Francisco, Tech, Harvard, United States, Venture Capital, Miami, Private Equity, Silicon Valley, Portland Oregon, Seattle, Denver, Startup Company

Diet ID wins TechCrunch’s Detroit City Spotlight pitch-off — Watch the event here

TechCrunch just hosted its first pitch-off in Detroit and we’re pleased to announce Diet ID won the event. The company, based in Detroit and founded in 2016 by Dr. David Katz, gives users a clinically tested approach to dietary assessment and management. Diet ID competed against other Detroit-area startups including Rivet Work, Plain Sight and FixMyCar. Local investors acted as judges: Jim Tenzillo, VP at Invest Michigan, Dawn Batts, Capital Strategist at TechTown and co-founder of Commune ...
Tags: TC, Tech, United States, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Midwest, Ludlow Ventures, Jonathon Triest, David Katz, Patti Glaza, TechTown, Jim Tenzillo, Ben Bernstein, Ryan Landau, Invest Detroit Ventures, Detroit City Spotlight

Detroit VCs weigh in on fundraising and building startups in Michigan and the Midwest

TechCrunch just hosted a small virtual meetup with Detroit startups and venture capitals. Like the one we held last month in Miami, the event was a blast and featured a talk with two local VCs on what startups work in Detroit and how to raise money from local investors. All about Detroit A quick peek inside Fontinalis, one of Detroit’s best-known young venture firms Origin story: How StockX became the stock market of hype Bloomscape’s Justin Mast explains how he built a thrivi...
Tags: TC, Tech, Miami, Michigan, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Midwest, Ludlow Ventures, Jonathon Triest, Patti Glaza, Invest Detroit Ventures, Bloomscape, Justin Mast, Detroit Hardware, Motor City Building

Hear from Detroit VCs on how to raise cash in the Motor City today at TechCrunch’s free Detroit meetup

We hope you can make our virtual meetup in Detroit today. The event is free, features a pitch-off with Detroit startups, a talk regarding StockX, and a panel with Detroit VCs on best practices when fundraising. This event is the second in TechCrunch’s new series, City Spotlights where TechCrunch focuses on an area to highlight successes and bring light to the growing area. Last month we were in Miami and soon we’re going to Pittsburgh. Today’s event features talks on how to get hired at a startu...
Tags: TC, Tech, Miami, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Dan Gilbert, Motor City, Ludlow Ventures, DETROIT Detroit, Patti Glaza, Jim Tenzillo, Ryan Landau, Bloomscape, Justin Mast, Rae Witte, Jonathan Triest

The 5 best TV antennas in 2021 for watching free local channels

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky An indoor antenna allows you to watch free local channels on your TV without a cable plan. Modern antennas can be attached to your wall or placed on a stand for easy installation. Our top choice is the Channel Master FLATenna+ thanks to its simple setup and strong reception. An indoor antenna is a cheap and simple way to get local TV channels without a cable or streaming subscriptionMost antennas today are as thin as a sheet of paper and can get dozens of chan...
Tags: Reviews, Amazon, TV, Abc, Trends, Tech, Features, Fox, Buying Guide, Streaming, Buffalo, HD, Pbs, Antenna, Orlando, Pittsburgh

Bloomscape’s Justin Mast explains how he built a thriving garden startup in Detroit

Justin Mast has a simple reason for starting his plant retail startup Bloomscape in Detroit. “This is home,” he told me. “This is where I have a really strong network and I knew I’d be able to find a lot of support.” Mast didn’t grow up in Detroit proper, but he’s from Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second largest city. He recalled a weekend in Detroit after finishing graduate school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, when he was “totally blown away” by the city’s energy. And when it came t...
Tags: Startups, TC, Ecommerce, Tech, Chicago, United States, Netherlands, Plants, Michigan, Seattle, Detroit, Revolution Ventures, Seventh Generation, Cto, Pittsburgh, University Of Michigan

Last call for Detroit startups to apply for TechCrunch’s Detroit City Spotlight pitch-off

TechCrunch is hosting a small virtual event on April 15 for startups in Detroit and we’re still looking for a few startups to pitch at the event. The deadline is today, Friday, April 9th. Apply below. Want to attend the free event? Register here. TechCrunch just published a feature on Detroit-darling StockX and this meetup will feature those involved in producing that content. The EC-1 can be found here. Everyone is welcome to attend the event, but we’re looking for startups based in Michigan’s ...
Tags: TC, Tech, Michigan, EC, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Detroit City Spotlight

Have a startup in Detroit? Apply to pitch at TechCrunch’s Detroit virtual meetup!

TechCrunch is coming to Detroit — virtually, at least. On April 15, TechCrunch is hosting a small online event with local venture capitalists, founders and those curious about the growing ecosystem. There will also be a small pitch-off event where Detroit-based startups have three minutes to pitch their companies to Detroit-based VCs. TechCrunch just published a feature on Detroit-darling StockX and this meetup will feature those involved in producing that content. The EC-1 can be found here. Ev...
Tags: TC, Tech, Michigan, EC, Detroit, Pittsburgh, StockX, Michigna

How we’re working with governments on climate goals

When it comes to sustainability, we have a responsibility to work together — across governments, businesses and communities — and take action now. As the former Federal Chief Sustainability Officer for the U.S. government, I know firsthand the positive impact of technology companies and governments working together to address climate change. I’m thrilled to see the 24/7 carbon-free energy commitment for Federal buildings in President Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan, and am heartened by loca...
Tags: Google, Japan, Congress, Navy, Los Angeles, Sustainability, Earth, Houston, Biden, Department Of Energy, Pittsburgh, International Data Corporation, Google Cloud, Air Conditioning HVAC, Kate Brandt, Des Moines City Council

Other Ways Biden's Infrastructure Plan Could Power America's Shift From Fossil Fuels

The Washington Post explains exactly how the new infrastructure plan of U.S President Joe Biden would "turbocharge" America's transition away from fossil fuels: The linchpin of Biden's plan, which he detailed in a speech Wednesday in Pittsburgh, is the creation of a national standard requiring utilities to use a specific amount of solar, wind and other renewable energy to power American homes, businesses and factories... [Including hydropower and nuclear energy.] Biden has said he wants a carbo...
Tags: Europe, Congress, Washington Post, US, America, Tech, Joe Biden, United States, Biden, East Coast, Pittsburgh, Franklin D Roosevelt, Breakthrough Energy, DanDrollette, Civilian Climate Corps

Cendana has raised a $30 million ‘fund of funds’ for VCs managing $15 million or less

Cendana Capital, a San Francisco-based fund of funds manager, has amassed stakes in more than 100 venture firms since launching in 2010. For the most part, it did this by focusing on managers who are raising funds of $100 million or less in capital, even foregoing stakes in beloved outfits like Forerunner Ventures and Uncork Capital as their assets under management ballooned well beyond that amount. Yet as the market changed, however, Cendana founder Michael Kim began to play with that formula. ...
Tags: TC, Facebook, San Francisco, Tech, Atlanta, Paypal, Nano, Kim, Facebook Photos, Forerunner Ventures, Chris Sacca, Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Bobby, Bobby Goodlatte, Josh Williams

Transportation Department says taxing drivers by the mile is not part of Biden's agenda after Buttigieg said it showed 'promise'

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg at a press conference in February. John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images The Department of Transportation clarified comments made Friday by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg on Friday said that a mileage tax to fund Biden's infrastructure plan had "a lot of promise." But on Saturday, a spokesperson said such a tax is not part of Biden's agenda. See more stories on Insider's business page. The office of S...
Tags: Apple, Transportation, Washington Post, White House, US, Trends, Biden, Department Of Transportation, Cnbc, Pittsburgh, John Mcdonnell, Transportation Department, Buttigieg, Pete Buttigieg, Pete Buttigieg Buttigieg, Adam Wren

The anti-Elon Musk: With tech pioneer Bryan Salesky, VW wants to win the billion-euro race against Tesla

Bryan Salesky dove into the world of autonomous driving almost 15 years ago, in his mid-20s. At the time, he was in charge of software for a team in a self-driving car race. Then, a few years later, he was named head of hardware for Google's autonomous driving division. In 2016, he and his ex-boss founded the startup Argo AI, which is now valued at more than $7 billion. A few months ago, VW jumped in - for $2.6 billion. See more stories on Insider's business page. This is an automated m...
Tags: Google, Europe, Elon Musk, California, Germany, Trends, Tesla, United States, Vw, Ford, Silicon Valley, Volkswagen, Detroit, Wolfsburg, Carnegie Mellon University, Musk

Investing in America in 2021

One of the best parts of my job is getting the opportunity to visit the communities that Google is a part of across the U.S. Whether it’s meeting small business owners in Pittsburgh, congratulating graduates of our Google Career Certificates in Dallas, or visiting a classroom of kids learning to code in Oklahoma, these trips have always filled me with optimism and insight.Obviously in-person visits haven’t been possible over the past year. Yet I continue to be inspired by the stories I’ve read o...
Tags: Google, New York, Texas, Minnesota, California, Youtube, Washington, Virginia, America, Atlanta, Chicago, Austin, Dallas, Nebraska, Rochester, Nevada

Black Tech Nation Ventures is a new fund for Black entrepreneurs

Kelauni Jasmyn, general partner at the new Black Tech Nation Ventures, can explain her aims for the new firm quite succinctly: “The goal is to get more Black people funded.” That’s something Jasmyn has been working on already with Black Tech Nation, a Pittsburgh-based organization that supports Black entrepreneurs with education, content, community and more. Now she’s tackling the funding size of the equation more directly by raising a $50 million first fund with her fellow GPs Sean Sebastian an...
Tags: Tech, Diversity, Venture Capital, Silicon Valley, Pittsburgh, Sean, Sebastian, Motley, Jasmyn, Birchmere Ventures, BlueTree Venture Fund, Sean Sebastian, David Motley, Black Tech Nation Ventures, Kelauni Jasmyn, Black Tech Nation

Eye, robot

So, this is going to sound like a cop out (because, honestly, it kind of is), but the through line for the past week’s robotics investments is variety. That is to say that this week’s round of funding is all over the place, in terms of verticals, which is probably an overall positive sign of the health of robotics investing in general. VCs seem to be pretty bullish about automation across a variety of different sectors. Medical continues to be a biggie. What’s wild about surgical robots is how l...
Tags: Tech, Dreamworks, West Coast, Robotics, Pixar, Shell, Tortoise, Anki, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Sebastian Thrun, Vector, Safeway, Da Vinci, Albertsons, Cozmo

The owner of Anki’s assets plans to relaunch Cozmo and Vector this year

Good robots don’t die — they just have their assets sold off to the highest bidder. Digital Dream Labs was there to sweep up IP in the wake of Anki’s premature implosion, back in 2019. The Pittsburgh-based edtech company had initially planned to relaunch Vector and Cozmo at some point in 2020, launching a Kickstarter campaign in March of last year. The company eventually raised $1.8 million on the crowdfunding site, and today announced plans to deliver on the overdue relaunch, courtesy of a new ...
Tags: Hardware, Tech, Dreamworks, Robotics, Pixar, Sphero, Anki, Pittsburgh, Vector, Cozmo, Digital Dream Labs, Jacob Hanchar

Doctor Shares Hidden Dangers Of iPhone 12 For People With Pacemakers

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Tags: Apple, Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, KDKA, Around the Nation, KDKA TV According, Krishna Kancharla, Kancharla

Have a startup in Miami? Apply to pitch at TechCrunch’s Miami virtual meetup

TechCrunch is coming to Miami — virtually, at least. On March 11, TechCrunch is hosting a small online event with local venture capitalists, founders, and those curious about the growing ecosystem. There will also be a small pitch-off event where Florida-based startups have three minutes to pitch their companies to Florida-based VCs. Everyone is welcome to attend the event, but we’re looking for startups based in the Miami region to pitch at this event. TechCrunch has a long history of hosting s...
Tags: TC, Florida, Tech, Miami, Pittsburgh, Detroit Ann Arbor, City Spotlight

Are you a Slack purist? Plus, the most encouraging data visualization of the year so far: Datacenter Weekly

Welcome to Ad Age Datacenter Weekly, our data-obsessed newsletter for marketing and media professionals. Reading this online? Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox here. The latest on the labor market “The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week in a sign that layoffs may have eased, though applications for aid remain at a historically high level,” the AP’s Christopher Rugaber reports. “Jobless claims declined by 111,000 from the previous week to a se...
Tags: Google, Uber, Microsoft, Advertising, Ap, Chicago, New York Times, Ohio, Npr, Interactive Advertising Bureau, Pittsburgh, Bloomberg News, Hill, Census Bureau, Kevin Brown, Dayton Daily News

Police: Man Falsely Reports His Vehicle As Stolen, Googles ‘How To Set Your Car On Fire And Make It Look Like An Accident’

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Tags: Google, Pittsburgh, Cassidy, Westmoreland County, West Newton, CBS Pittsburgh, Around the Nation, Donald Cassidy, White Ridge Road, Mt Pleasant Township Police

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