Mondly is the award-winning language app that helps you learn a new language in no time. Mondly won Facebook’s App of the Year 2017 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Apple’s Best New App, January 2016. We had the opportunity to chat with Sebastian Maraloui, Chief Marketing Officer at Mondly. He revealed to us the recipe behind the success of the award-winning app.
Hello Sebastian! Can you introduce a little bit about yourself: your responsibilities and your typical day at work?
My name is Sebastian Maraloiu and I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at Mondly. My main objective is to help Mondly grow to over 100 million downloads in the next 3 years by managing various marketing activities like PR, user acquisition, SEO, ASO, social media and many more.
Each day starts with a short walk to our beautiful office in the center of probably the best city in Romania, Brasov. Once at the office, I dive into work alongside my talented colleagues and challenge myself to push Mondly one step forward to becoming the no.1 language learning company in the world.
What/Who do you credit the success of Mondly to?
The product was the foundation of Mondly’s success. We put a lot of effort in creating one of the most beautiful language apps that gets people learning a language as fast and effortless as possible. As a result, learners loved Mondly and rewarded us with great reviews and ratings.
What’s the most important thing Mondly is working on right now, and how are you making it happen?
Mondly is probably the most innovative language company in the world. In the last 18 months, Mondly has launched:
- The first voice-enabled chatbot for language learning
- MondlyKids, one of the most comprehensive language apps for kids
- MondlyVR, the first VR language app with speech recognition for GearVR, Daydream and Cardboard
- A major redesign of our Mondly iOS and Android app and now offer one of the widest ranges of languages people can learn: 33 languages from Spanish and French to Mandarin Chinese or more.
We are striving for excellence by improving our products each and every day. We are also committed to bring new and innovative products to the market.
What was your first (code/product) ship like — and what was the same or different compared to your most recent?
As time has passed, our products have become more and more complex. We have integrated some of the newest technologies such as speech recognition and chatbot technology to create an unique language learning experience.
At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your metrics?
Besides classic metrics such as revenue, number of downloads, engagement and retention, we measure success by the number of 5-star ratings we get and the number of positive reviews and stories we receive. Having a 4.7 star rating on the App Store and Google Play from 500000 reviews gives us the motivation to keep making language learning easier and more fun.
What inspired you to start/join Mondly?
I loved the passion and vision behind Mondly and decided to join the cause. The teams was also a big reason for joining. Mondly has an all-star team of talented youngsters that can go head-to-head and win against significantly larger teams in the US, the UK or Germany.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The thought that I’m part of a group of people that challenge the status quo and work towards making the world a better place every day. There’s also the fact that each day bring in new challenges that help me become a better person on a personal and professional level.
What would be some advice for people looking to get involved in entrepreneurship/startup?
- Lessons 1: If you want to build a successful startup you have to inspire others. You have to come up with a product idea and a vision that gets people excited to join your cause. The team is what makes or breaks a startup.
- Lesson 2: Never dive into execution before validating your idea otherwise you risk wasting months of years of your life building something people don’t want or need. If you don’t know how to do this, read “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries, “Running Lean” by Ash Maurya and “The 4-hour work week” by Tim Ferris and you’ll be ready to go.
- Lesson 3: Afterwards it’s all about execution and grit. Keep persevering and you’ll eventually prevail.
- Lesson 4: Be data driven. Intuition get you this far, but in order to succeed you have to take decisions based on clear data. Test everything and iterate until it works.