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May 31, 2015 4:41 PM ET

Archived: Linguese: EdTech company teaching Chinese online with live qualified native teachers and a bespoke IT platform

iCrowdNewswire - May 31, 2015


EdTech company teaching Chinese online with live qualified native teachers and a bespoke IT platform.

London, United Kingdom
Investment sought: £100,004

Product(s) and/or service(s)

Linguese is an EdTech company that offers customised and flexible online Chinese courses at affordable prices with live qualified native teachers, through a web platform at the cutting-edge of e-learning.

The students have all the benefits of the e-learning (total flexibility, low pricing) combined with the effectiveness of learning a language through live teaching with native professors.

Leveraging the knowledge of our founders (one qualified as a Chinese teacher), we have developed a methodology to make the studying of the language fun and effective.

We have built a platform that allows students to take the lesson when and where they want and study at their own pace. We offer the following products and services:

1. Online Live 1-to-1 courses
2. Online Live Group lessons with a social learning community
3. Access to self-learning material

We plan to develop a gaming app targeting those customers who want to grasp some knowledge of Chinese whilst having fun.


Intended impact

We strongly believe that the human element in education is essential as it is not only about learning and teaching a language but it is also about sharing a culture and explaining its values. This is at the heart of what we do and aspire to be.

Therefore we aim to bring the very best of native Chinese teachers to our customers, wherever they are, whenever they want. We aim to provide service excellence in whatever we do and we build the learning experience of our customers around their needs and schedule.

Our ultimate objective is to reshape the way the student learns a new language by:

– Bringing the best native professors live to your device
– Building the learning experience around you and your schedule
– Providing access to a community with a strong common interest
– Delivering a fun and challenging experience thanks to our new gaming app
– Connecting students from anywhere in the world
– Offering a methodology that guarantees consistent quality results
– Making the experience of learning a language affordable for anyone

Essentially we offer the students the opportunity to learn Chinese and its culture as if they were studying in China but at much cheaper price and from anywhere in the world.

Linguese aims to bridge the gap between China and the student.


Substantial accomplishments to date

Linguese was set up in Barcelona in July 2013. Since then, we have already achieved exciting results:

– €76,000 of revenues in 2014 (in Italy and Spain only)
– 55% of recurring customers
– Tested and launched 2 products
– Entered in the B2C and B2B markets
– Developed a user friendly IT platform that makes customer experience easy and allows us to scale the business
– Recruited and trained 35 native Chinese teachers from 4 leading Chinese universities
– Built a complementary and highly cohesive management team
– Developed self-learning material and a cutting-edge methodology in house
– Completed the Emerge Education incubator’s program and established our market presence in the UK
– Won industry awards like the “Euronews Business Award” sponsored by Google and “Emprendedor XXI Digital” sponsored by Microsoft

We have laid out the foundations for a fast growth trajectory and we are ready to scale the business up.


Monetisation strategy

Our business model is very simple. We make money by selling our products to both B2C and B2B customers.

Revenue streams from B2C:
a. Educational Gaming App (to be developed): Freemium model.
b. Online Live 1-to-1 Lessons: upfront payment (we sell different packages of lessons). We have two different pricing models according to the level of flexibility the customer chooses.
c. Online Live Group Lessons: monthly/bi-annual/yearly subscription model.

In addition, we charge a one-off fee for the physical book (only for the Online 1-to-1 product).

Revenue streams from B2B:
a. Contract base: we aim to sign long-term contracts with large corporations, foundations etc and tailor the teaching offering to the client’s needs.
b. Cross-selling opportunities with affiliated companies.

In addition we aim to sign strategic partnerships with universities and schools to get access to a large number of students.


Use of proceeds

The main objective of this round is to focus on our customer acquisition strategy, both for the B2C and B2B markets. A large part of our budget will be invested to hire a professional digital marketeer who would increase the effectiveness of our digital marketing strategy, thus lowering the ultimate cost of customer acquisition.

We also want to invest money and resources in developing a structured corporate strategy to secure additional B2B clients as this is a key strategic objective for us. For the next 18-24 months, we are going to mainly focus our efforts in Europe.

Finally, we aim to:
1. Expand our product offering by developing a beta version of a gaming app 2. Improve the quality and quantity of our self-learning material available for students
3. Invest into our IT platform to:
a. Integrate the 1-to-1 into the group lesson platform
b Automatise operations and the supply chain
c. Improve overall customer experience



Target market

As of today, Linguese targets two different markets:
1. B2C: consumers and prosumers
2. B2B: corporates, schools and universities

Our offering is tailored to the needs of this particular audience. Whether you want to learn Chinese for fun, cultural interest, professional or personal reasons or whether you are a complete beginner or you want to become proficient, we have something for you. We also tailor the courses to the various segments of the B2C market (e.g. kids vs adults) and to the starting level of each student. Our flexible offering allows us to reach all types of customers with totally different needs.

Finally, with the proceeds of this seed raise, we will develop an innovative educational gaming app to tap into the gaming market. We strongly believe that “gamification” can be a useful tool to accelerate our growth. The aim is to reach thousands of users to (a) increase our brand and (b) be able to convert some of these users to our paid products. We have previously looked at the gamification of teaching Chinese and we are looking for a game developer to launch the beta version of the app.

We strongly believe the B2B market is very attractive for us and that we have an interesting product to offer. We see the B2B market divided into two broad categories:
1. Large corporations that invest massively in employee’s training or firms that are interested in cross-selling opportunities (e.g. relocation companies)
2. Schools and universities with a strategic interest in expanding their product offering to their students

To date, Linguese is already active in the B2B market having secured an Italian Foundation as a client which.

The B2B market has many attractive features for our business model and in particular two:
1. It can generate large volumes with lots of economies of scale
2. It is likely to generate recurring revenues through long-term contracts

Characteristics of target market

Linguese is surfing the waves of two different growing trends:
1. The online learning market is soaring at a rate of 20% per annum
2. The number of people learning Chinese is growing fast (see below)

– In 2004 the number of people studying Chinese was 30 million globally
– In 2014, the number of people studying Chinese grew to 100 million, 7% of them did study online

This is our addressable market opportunity, which we anticipate will expand even further in the future based on the fact the internet is transforming the way people learn.


Marketing strategy

B2C: Our strategy to reach the B2C market is based on two pillars:

1. We intend to develop a very structured digital marketing strategy by hiring a professional digital marketeer to lower the cost of customer acquisition.
To date, for every £ we have spent in digital marketing, our customer spent on average £5.6, a very satisfactory LTV/CAC ratio. However, we see the opportunity to greatly reduce the cost of customer acquisition, and to do this we need to design and execute an organic marketing strategy to boost the speed of our customer acquisition.
Our in-house IT team has done a great job so far but we strongly believe it is now the time to ramp up our investment in digital marketing. In fact, we anticipate that the majority of the money we will raise in this round will be invested in digital marketing.

2. We will develop an educational gaming app with a Freemium model to target those customers who want to have fun while gaining a grasp of Chinese but have not yet made a firm decision whether to invest money and time to learn the language. The goal is to convert a % of the users into our paid products.

B2B: We believe the best way to attack this market is a three-pronged approach:

1. Sign long-term agreements with corporations and foundations which have a budget dedicated to employee’s training. We have already signed an agreement with an Italian Foundation last year and we are in the process of signing with them a new contract for 2015.

2. Identify cross-selling opportunities with affiliated companies (e.g. relocation companies).

3. Establish long-term partnerships with schools and universities that have an interest in expanding their product offering to students.

The plan is to build a dedicated team over time with relationships and direct access to these type of stakeholders in order to maximise the chances of success. We believe this is a massive market opportunity for us to generate sticky revenues and large volumes.


Competition strategy

Our vision is very simple: to become the go-to online academy and offer the best combination of e-learning and live teaching experience to learn Chinese. If you want to learn the language of the future in a fun, effective, flexible, affordable way through a user-friendly IT platform, we are the solution for you.

We offer the holistic solution to learn a language:
– Access to the best native teachers sourced from the best Chinese universities
– Product offering tailored to every level with self-learning material
– Full flexibility: study when and where it suits you
– Access to a methodology developed in-house
– Dedicated academic advisor to support you throughout your learning experience
– Educational gaming app to learn in a fun and entertaining way
– Access to a social learning community
– Competitive pricing

We have excellent access to Chinese universities due to the founder’s experience of living and working in China and we believe this sets us apart from competition. We have tested the model and the products and we have evidence that our customers buy our courses on a repetitive basis (55% of recurring clients).

More importantly we have designed a process to efficiently manage our supply chain (i.e. teacher recruiting) to allow scalability while maintaining high quality standards. We plan to manage the supply chain in the following way:
1. Filter teacher candidates through a knowledge-based test available on our platform
2. Train the successful candidates through an online video tutorial that explains how to use the platform and our methodology
3. Assign a Teacher Coordinator to oversee up to 100 teachers to guarantee quality control and faultless operations
4. Manage administrative and HR related tasks exclusively through the platform in an automatised way

As we are operating in a very fragmented and growing market with a lack of highly recognisable brands, we have a clear opportunity to establish the market leader in Online Live Chinese teaching.





Co-founder and Director of Studies


Software Engineer


UX and Digital Marketing
Contact Information:

Gianluca D'Angelo
Paola Costa
Piero Costa
Sergi Abayà Palau
Gerard Casanova Sanchez

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