Interview with Alex Lashkov
Describe your product or service:
“Linguix is an AI-based writing assistant and language skill improvement app.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Our mission is to help people across the globe to instantly improve their career results by boosting communications and improving their skills.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“We are eight people now with the three co-founders. The tech/marketing split is 50/50.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yep, I always wanted to create something [and] control the whole process of producing the value. Also, I've already had my first business, a content agency. I dreamed of working on a product rather than a service business.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“For more than 10 years of my career, I [have been] a marketer. After relocating to the US four years ago, I decided to launch a boutique content marketing agency here in Miami. So, I needed to produce lots of content in English myself and manage a team of native-speaking content creators.
My language skills were far from perfect, though. This is why I decided to find software that could help me with my content and writing skills. I’ve tried [the] Hemingway App, Grammarly, and a bunch of other solutions.
Some of them seemed good but turned out to be inefficient for me. These tools could correct mistakes I made, but they did not prevent me from making the same mistake again and again. I just typed and clicked “accept” for all corrections and [made] no actual progress with my language and writing skills.
In turn, language learning apps I used like Duolingo promised results somewhen in the future and could not help me right away with my business tasks. This has also negatively impacted my motivation as a language learner.
It turned out that I was not alone. There are millions of people like me out there — non-natives living in English-speaking countries, immigrants, those working in international companies from abroad, and so on. These people deserved better software. So, I’ve founded Linguix.”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“We've also considered [the] name Textly.AI and even were close to launch[ing] under that name. However, due to some copyright reasons, we could not use it and switched to Linguix.com”
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“The greatest challenge was to build a great product that people would use and pay for, perfecting the core technology while integrating it with all the platforms users needed the tool on. It felt like building a road before moving [the] car.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
“We are mostly helping non-native English speakers living in native-speaking countries or working in international companies.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“We focus on organic growth rather than pouring cash into paid ads. We are good at content marketing, SEO, working hard to build our affiliate and referral programs, and implement the viral mechanics into the product itself.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Content marketing and promos like launching on Product Hunt.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
What's your favorite entrepreneurial book and podcast?
“None, actually. I prefer to network with the founders directly; this is more motivating and gives more insights than reading about how Elon Musk tackles his tasks.”
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
“The biggest lesson was that marketing can do nothing without the product. The product should push people to pay for it by being cool, useful, and delivering value. Also, you can spend hours on crafting your website and landing [page] copy, but unless the user can't easily understand the feature and how to use it, nobody will pay for it (or even start using it).”
Who is your support system?
“Zendesk and email.”
How do you stay motivated?
“I just want to see how far we can go with the product; it evolves and surprises me like a baby. This is the best motivation.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“Get up early (6 a.m.) and control the time you get to bed (11 p.m. the latest).”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“Building a product that is more functional than a billion-dollar competitor and getting it to people who [love] it — all from scratch and with little experience in building products.”
Do you have any recent news on your company that we can feature on our Google News platform?
“We've recently launched our Writing Coach, the tool that offers you a personalized language training based on mistakes you make while writing.”
More on Linguix
Linguix, Alex Lashkov’s edtech startup that offers a writing assistant tool, is helping non-native speakers not only correct their writing errors but learn how to improve their writing in a new language.
We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with Alex Lashkov of Linguix that will inspire, motivate, and teach aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.