Meet the Winner of Seedstars Georgia and Seedstars Kazakhstan
Interview with Vato Veliashvili, CEO of Lingwing
Lingwing is the first Georgian online platform offering an efficient method to learn a foreign language. The company has recently become the winner of Seedstars Georgia and Seedstars Kazakhstan.
Lingwing is a place to be if one needs an efficient way to learn a language. How did you come up with the idea, which factor helped you develop your company?
The idea came from our problem of learning a language. I was studying language in school, in university, which had hundreds of online resources, but none of them helped me to speak the language, and the problem was not having enough practice. Only theories, grammar, and passive learning. We’ve changed that, and made Lingwing far more natural and far more effective by giving users the ability to practice, practice by speaking, chatting and listening. That was the key factor that helped us develop our company’s insider problem of the user. By solving our problems, we solved the problems of thousands of people. We constantly improve our product by talking to and getting feedback from our users.
How did the public react to the appearance of your brand, and who is your target group?
We have a couple of target groups, because everyone needs language. There are some fields that we don’t touch. Very advanced courses, like C1 and C2, we aren’t going to add these levels. Also, we don’t cover ILTS and TOEFL preparation courses, but we are planning to. And our target group isn’t children up to 8 years old. Our target groups are children who are preparing for national exams, students, people who need a language for their career, ex-pats and tourists. We have different approaches when we communicate to them, and we have a very high number of success stories in each case. We also really want to start ESP (English for specific purposes) courses like business, tourism, law, medical, etc. Overall, I think the feedback that we have from our users and their satisfaction even exceeded our expectations, they just love learning on Lingwing.
Who’s your team, and what’s your work process like?
Our team is very international, we are about 20 people around Georgia, but not all of them are Georgians; we have British, American, Armenian, and Russian team members, and we are ready to accept new nationalities as well, hence we know where to learn a new language. The work process is really exciting and along with quite difficult as well. We have product developers, websites, mobile apps, chatbots, content creators, and a marketing team. Most of the people are involved in content creation, we have local language experts, then it’s checked by native language speakers, and then it’s dubbed by native speakers. It’s really good that such a small team can create such big things, that will be used by millions of people.
That’s great news! You’re the winner of Seedstars Georgia and Kazakhstan. What’s the innovation you bring that determined your success?
It was fascinating for me to win competitions. I love Seedstars, and the people who work at that company, I think they’re doing a great job. They aim to have an impact, and our project fits their goals quite well. Besides, our innovation and a different approach to teaching languages fits with them. We all know that innovation alone is not enough and passion, determination, the team, they are the most important things that investors and juries are looking at, so there is no one solution that’s bringing success.
What are the advantages of doing business in Georgia? Do you think Tbilisi is becoming a hub for startups?
Recently, we had about 3 big summits and business forums held in Georgia. It was not happening years ago. Also, some projects raised a considerable amount of money. I think it might become a hub very soon, but still, we need to do more for that. As an advantage, I would say the ease of doing business, the bank system, the fact that it’s a cheap country, has a good, young workforce. Also, networking is very easy at the supra table, or just with Georgian wine. These traditional things are also playing a good role in the development of the startup ecosystem in Georgia, because a lot of people are visiting our country because of our unique culture and nature.
What excites you the most right now, and what do you see as your next step?
I’m excited, and can’t wait to enter new countries. We already started to move things forward, and we have content for many countries. For the next year, we start spreading our product in new markets. The demand is huge, and our platform is unique for that underserved market. Also, next year we are raising new investments for product development, and entering new countries. We are making a full redesign of a platform that will be the first in the world. You will see how Lingwing will go from being a Georgian company to a global enterprise. Even though we are a leading company in Georgia, we still need to change many things to compete on a global scale.