PITTSBURGH, April 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Duolingo, the world's most popular language-learning platform, today announced the appointments of Matt Skaruppa as the company's first Chief Financial Officer and Stephen Chen as its first General Counsel. These new executive hires come on the heels of Duolingo passing one million paid subscribers for its Duolingo Plus subscription product in early March 2020.
The appointments of Skaruppa as CFO and Chen as General Counsel come amid strong business growth for Duolingo, including reaching one million subscribers for the Duolingo Plus subscription. Paid subscribers rose 200% year-over-year in 2019. While continuing to offer all of its learning content free of charge, Duolingo's Plus subscription led the company to be the Top-Grossing Education app worldwide for 2019, according to SensorTower data. In December 2019, the company was valued at $1.5 billion, becoming Pittsburgh's first venture capital-backed startup unicorn.
"At Duolingo, we're focused on building a world-class company for the long term," said Luis von Ahn, CEO and co-founder of Duolingo. "As our business has grown significantly, we are very fortunate to have Matt and Stephen join the team as we prepare for our next phases of business growth and a 50% increase in our team headcount this year."
Skaruppa comes to Duolingo with more than 15 years of finance and operations experience, most recently as a senior member of Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, a group that managed a venture and growth equity fund of more than $1.2 billion. Prior to that, he spent five years as an operating executive for KKR Capstone, where he partnered with CEOs, CFOs and management teams on key initiatives to grow and improve their companies. He will be leading the efforts to continue building a world class finance and accounting team.
"Duolingo has shown that it's possible to build a strong business without straying from its mission to help people learn new languages and better their lives," said Skaruppa. "I am inspired by this mission, and look forward to working with the rest of the team to continue growing our business while empowering millions of learners around the world."
Chen brings more than 20 years of experience as an attorney at publicly-traded companies including Yahoo!, VMWare and most recently Proofpoint, where he was Associate General Counsel and Vice President. Over the course of his career, Chen has led more than 50 strategic transactions, including acquisitions, investments and joint ventures. He has also provided legal support for IPOs and other capital market transactions that have collectively raised over $1.3 billion in capital.
"Having spent most of my career working at tech companies in Silicon Valley, I am looking forward to relocating to Pittsburgh for this new opportunity to build out the legal function with one of the city's most successful startups," said Chen. "Personally, I love how the app helps me connect with my cultural identity and learn the language my parents speak."
Duolingo is the most popular language-learning platform and the most downloaded education app worldwide. The company's mission is to make education free and accessible to all. Duolingo offers 94 total courses across over 30 distinct languages, and is available on iOS, Android, and Web at www.duolingo.com. Valued at $1.5 billion, the company has raised more than $138 million in venture capital from investors including CapitalG, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Union Square Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Drive Capital, Ashton Kutcher, and Tim Ferriss.