While we think about localisation as a must for Southeast Asia, knowing English is also critical to your value as an employee or worker in a increasingly global economy. In Indonesia, this is becoming tougher for the local populace as the country recently removed English as a compulsory subject in schools.
To combat this growing issue around the lack of English proficiency, two graduates from Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Indonesia got together to build a technology solution for the country.
We speak to one of them, Andre Benito, CEO and Co-founder of LingoTalk, an education technology solution that provides personalized language learning for schools.
We speak to Nife founder Nida Sahar about her venture and more
The company’s newest product LingoJunior is transforming the way children learn language through a fun and engaging learning pathway. LingoJunior gives schools the entire language curriculum for students, which also includes a Learning Management System for teachers to track progress, grade homework, and add learning plans. Parents could also easily track their child’s progress through LingoParent features.
They were also recently part of the EduSpaze programme, which has helped build some of the top edtech startups in the region.
When Andre isn’t in office, you can find him travelling or practising his Brazilian Ju Jitsu. Here’s his story to inspire you.
Sell us your company/service in 300 words?
Indonesia’s ministry of education removed English as a compulsory subject for primary schools from their latest curriculum. This is clearly a huge mistake made by our government. As a result, more than 200,000 schools are now forced to use outdated materials and haveless resources in language learning. Parents are worried and they clearly need alternatives.
So we built THE alternative with LingoTalk. LingoTalk gives schools the entire language curriculum for kids, which also includes a Learning Management System for teachers to track progress, grade homework, and add learning plans. Parents could also easily track their kids progress through LingoParent features
We have transformed the way kids learn languages by engaging them with stories, motion games, and tutorials rather than conventional methods that force them to memorize grammar rules. We empower them with more than a thousand topics that can get them excited, from movies, music, games, to folklore; increasing kids’ attainment rate by 35%.
What is stopping you from having the largest company in the world?
At LingoTalk, we take pride in what we do, and what we promise. That does not really necessarily mean we have to be the largest company in the world. When we started, we found a problem that some people have and honestly, in the beginning, we didn’t even worry about how big of a problem it was.
You solve problems for people. That is a startup. That is what entrepreneurship is about, and I think that was the primary motivation for us when we started LingoTalk.
Everything else, like the fundraising, co-founder shares, revenue models and TAM calculator, all comes later. We didn’t t worry about any of that stuff at the start and just focused on finding a problem that people were facing and fixing it.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry in Southeast Asia, what would it be?
The thing that really surprised me when I was traveling around Southeast Asia was just how much the region has grown in its startup ecosystems. We are at a turning point. So, I think that there is a lot of opportunity in a lot of different spaces for people to build companies here.
I think if I were to change anything, it would be improving or creating a more helpful or supportive ecosystem throughout the region. It will be very meaningful to help other founders here, primarily because I think founders don’t get as much support as founders in Silicon Valley. And I think we are doing a very courageous thing with little support at the moment.
Name one person in the region who is making a difference in Technology?
The people behind Iterative are brave and courageous people who actually act and bring about changes to the ecosystem in the region. I really love the way they think about Southeast Asia’s opportunity and how they make us explore our potential as a founder, something that is actually way bigger than we ever thought when we started.
They were extremely helpful, working with our own idea, helping us with pitches and investors, and most importantly, understanding our hurdles as founders since they are founders themselves. Our decision to work together with them was probably the best we’ve made so far.
What would you want people to remember you for, 100 years from now?
To start with, I don’t really need to have my name written in the history books. I come from a place and upbringing where I don’t value that and don’t believe it should be my goal as an entrepreneur and founder.
I think the saying that encapsulates how I feel about it now is that, “If you want to go fast, go alone. And if you want to go far, go with others.” As an introvert, I choose a pathway that’s more solitary and allows me to focus on my goals.
I’d like to be remembered as someone who initiates good stuff and to be able to inspire people.