Luis von Ahn and his language learning startup is bringing education to the world. The Shadyside company was making news before it was barely out of the gate as a top education app on iTunes and Google Play. In 2013, Apple named it App of the Year.
In typical von Ahn fashion, Duolingo works by accomplishing several tasks at once: while people learn a foreign language they are simultaneously translating text and thereby teaching foreign languages to others. The app has grown to 20 million users (10 million actives) to date and continues to garner praise and awards.
The company employs 34, continues to hire and has raised a total $38.3 million to date, $20 of which was raised in 2014. A Duolingo Test Center is next, giving users the ability to be language-certified for select jobs.
Jawbone acquires BodyMedia
Wearable health technology and personal data analysis is a red-hot trend for 2014, which can only mean that BodyMedia has been ahead of its time.
The Pittsburgh company was acquired by Jawbone in 2013 for an undisclosed amount and is now a fully owned subsidiary. Two armbands bear the BodyMedia name, the LINK and CORE; they are the only technology of their kind to be registered with the FDA as a device clinically proven to enhance users’ weight loss.
The company employs 50 in its downtown Pittsburgh office.
Wombat Security Technologies
The problems associated with online security and privacy is not going away anytime soon. Enter Wombat Security Technologies, a former CMU spinout, which is making a name for itself through cyber security training and filtering solutions for businesses and employees.
Having outgrown its space on Craig Street in Oakland, the firm is moving into new digs in the Strip District. In 2013 Wombat Security raised another $1 million added to it total $3.7 million raised to date. The company has 44 full-time and part-time employees.
The latest news is Dell SecureWorks has signed on as a partnership which is expected to accelerate the company’s growth. Wombat Security is enjoying triple digit growth to date through direct sales.