“Silicon” way startups Marina

Как российский проект вырос в американском бизнес-инкубаторе

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Marina Mogilco, 26, cofounder and head of LinguaTrip portal for those who want to learn foreign languages abroad. Lives and works in Silicon Valley (USA). Marina on how to create your project and got into one of the largest business incubators in the world.

– In Russia there Skolkovo and other business incubators for startups. How is it that you are in the US Silicon Valley?

– We have had proposals in Russia, but we just had to pay part of the business: to our Board of Directors imposed on people by the investor. Because of this, simply disappears motivation to work on the company, since it is actually most of you give. The Development Fund of online initiatives, we were told that the project no one needs and the best thing we can do – to close. In Silicon Valley, we got this: I spoke with a representative of the project “500 Startups», and it is immediately clear problem, because she was looking for a school abroad and could not find a place where we could all at once and buy the book.

– What were the first emotions after receiving the invitation to the Valley?

– We have a long road to go, a long walk in interviews with investors, and it lasted more than six months. It was a feeling that there are no investors, we do not find and just will slowly grow themselves. Naturally, when the invitation came, it was some kind of euphoria! And it is the first of April, so we do not believe – said it was a joke. Gathered as we are quickly – literally in two days – and drove away!

– If you were five years ago you said that you will have your project with which you will be invited to the accelerator in Silicon Valley, how would you react?

Marina Mogilco
Marina Mogilco

– I would not have believed it! It was so funny, I have long heard about the Valley, but was sure never to get, because I’m not a programmer. For me, it was something cool, but I could not believe that I ever once enter in technology startups. But, as it turned out, everything is possible.

– Initially in 2013 LinguaTrip created as a platform for booking courses abroad. And what do you see the prospects for the development of the portal?

– We have such a goal: a man who wants to learn a language is to be found on the site everything. For example, if he had just started and he wants to practice – we have created the opportunity to speak with native speakers. If he wants to first learn the language on Skype – we have teachers involved in on Skype. If he wants to go to learn a language abroad – we have a school, even at the higher education program, we are also now direct. I think we will continue to strengthen its position, because we want to fill the entire range of language practice.

– Do you own a popular blog on YouTube: almost 50 thousand subscribers. Can we consider it a part of your project?

– Oh sure. I so love what I do, I have no separation, which personal life and where the work – all mixed up! I would not say that it is 100% business: this is what I like to do. At the same time, the blog does play a big role in the business: customers there more confidence when they see the person who makes the company directly.

– How often it is that your project people learn it from YouTube, and then come to your site and use the services: the selection of courses to consultation?

– There are so many! Sometimes people do not even think they want to go somewhere, but watch blog and understand that this is real – for the month to come and go somewhere to learn at least a couple of weeks. Conversely, there are those who come to the site, watch my videos from the blog that we place, realize that it’s all real and decide: everything I do food!

– In his book “Why did not you tell me that in the 20?” Tina Seelig, a professor at Stanford, says that we should not be afraid of failure, because they are often even more important part of the process, than successes. Do you agree with this statement?

– Yes, now this idea is very popular. I think the most important thing – when you get up after setbacks and keep moving on, it turns a kind of “hardening” – you know, that was already in this situation and somehow get out of it.

– What are the setbacks, which you had to face.

– I do not know how it can be called a failure, rather it is a natural process with its difficulties. When we created LinguaTrip, we already had a similar offline business in the same field. We started doing LinguaTrip in 2013, when he began to slowly fall dollar, all currencies have spread, and people are no longer actively travel abroad. In 2014 began the events in Ukraine, sanctions, and people in general have ceased to go. That is our offline business has been at the origin and at the same time, we have built a new online business. The idea is that less time could not come up: the money did not exist, our Founder settled to another job, to reinvest in our business is paid, themselves salaries paid 3,500 rubles a month, living with parents. But then, in 2015, when we launched LinguaTrip, many companies will not survive the crisis were closed, we also entered the market and took clients.

– What advice would you give to those who are just starting their business, and is faced with setbacks and criticism from others?

– We must understand that the majority of people through this pass, but not everything about it is told – usually like to tell success-stories, but nobody likes to tell how he had sat for years to build something, and he said everything sucks, bad . Now these stories there are more and more: on sites like Medium.com people tell their stories about the failures as well. And when you read and see that people now have a success – it’s probably the most motivating. Yet it is important to be yourself. If you decided to become an entrepreneur, you must own decisions. Even if the director FRII says that you need to close the project, because it probably will not fly, you have to decide to continue it or not. And it will be in any case more correct.