Hi there Speaky Community!
Many of you were curious to know more about our team and the Speaky project. So we’ve decided we would honor your request with a first episode on how the adventure started…
Ludo, David and Ben launched their first venture two years ago after spending so many years learning languages at school:
“During our studies, the idea of learning a language only made us think of boring books, old tapes, and despite so many hours spent in language classes, we realized we still couldn’t speak…”
I’m sure this sounds familiar to many of you.
The guys’ opportunity to go on an Erasmus exchange was eye-opening. They realized they had made tremendous progress simply by hanging out with people who had common interests and whose company they enjoyed. This is surprising how easy and natural this sounds when I write it.
That’s exactly how they realized language exchange probably was the best way to become great at a language in record time, without putting much effort into it. Even though you’re lazy, or your teachers said your case was hopeless, you can do it.
Now, combine this revelation about language learning with a pinch of talent and a spoonful of creativity, mix all the ingredients, stir well, and…
Tadaaaam! You get Speaky, our online language exchange social network. However, launching a startup from scratch isn’t child’s play. The beginning wasn’t necessarily easy, but the boys love adventures…
…So Off to the Jungle They Went!
The jungle is definitely not the most hospitable place on earth.You can easily get lost in there and never find your way out.
See what I mean?
One thing the early Speaky trio learned was that it’s okay to make mistakes. So instead of focusing too much on what they’d messed up, they concentrated on how much they had learned and how this could impact their project positively in the future. Constant learning at Speaky is our mantra.
Creating something new is exciting! No strict rules to follow, and many possibilities for the evolution of the product still need to be explored. This is probably the best opportunity to give free rein to our creativity!
“Constant learning is our mantra.”
The jungle is also known for being a dangerous place with wild animals, that’s why some people might talk you out of going there.
But what a fascinating place! So many things remain untapped!
The guys’ spirit of adventure played a crucial role in overcoming discouragement before launching the business. Some prejudice they had to deal with were the following:
#1 “B2C doesn’t work in Belgium”.
That one seemed totally arbitrary and definitely could have become a dream-killer. Speaky would never have been born.
Many people were told they wouldn’t succeed. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper company for not being creative, and Michael Jordan was told he was too small to become a professional basketball player.
But who’s the boss now?
#2 “You need a business model”.
When it comes to creating a community from scratch, you need to get a satisfactory retention of users before you can actually launch a paid premium version of the product. The priority is to consolidate your product and unite users around it first.
Making money is good and necessary, but wasn’t on top of the list.
In the jungle, you might as well feel very lonely, especially if you’re lost and don’t find the way out. It the beginning, there was just Ludo, David, Ben, and the trees.
What I mean by this is that the community was empty, but the boys were determined, not to go back to civilization, but rather to bring it to them. It started with 0, and then just 4, 6 people online, and then it kept growing.
Speaky’s Future Looks Bright!
Good news though, Speaky was rescued from the jungle.
We’re now partnering with an online language learning platform offering our services to French-speaking learners who are willing to practice English, Dutch, and German.
We are so thankful today for all the help, support and encouragement we’ve received from our families and from our biggest Speaky fans (which you might be part of)!
Our community’s potential amazes us!.
An undeniable evidence is the presence today in the offices of Leonardo Deleon, one of Speaky’s first users. Leo came straight from São Paolo, Brazil, because he believed in the project and wanted to part of it (he didn’t live that far from the jungle though, so he might have heard the boys shouting for assistance).
Speaky has changed many people’s lives already.
Users have met real life in foreign countries and really improved their language skills thanks to our language learning tool.
More than available features or functionalities, Speaky’s raison d’être is its potential impact on the existence of its increasing number of users.
The Speaky community now includes 500,000 users, and the team keeps growing; Arnaud, Leo, Thibaut and I joined the team in 2016 🙂 There’s no doubt that Speaky is a success and has a promising future.