A better way to become fluent
We got a chance to chat with Croissant member Walsh Costigan about her path to entrepreneurship. She is the Founder and CEO of Lexody, a nifty new way to practice speaking a language with native speakers.
The website states that less than 1% of college grads in the US can hold a conversation in a foreign language. Walsh and her 2.5 other team members are looking to solve the problem of finding a partner to practice with, and their solution just makes sense.
Can you tell us the story about how you went from working at SeamlessDocs to working full time on Lexody?
When I interviewed at SeamlessDocs, in a small room at an accelerator, I was asked why I wanted to work there. I told them: I want to work for a startup company from the very beginning, and learn everything. I was hired on the spot. Over the next three years, they went from no sales, to annual sales in the seven digits. Leaving this company was a very hard decision, but I had accomplished what I set out to do, and it was time to go replicate it.
What sparked the initial idea for Lexody?
I love languages, and have dabbled in most, but French was one of my majors in college. I studied in Paris for 6 months, and came back completely fluent in French. Back at university in Texas I was losing it quickly, and I searched everywhere for someone to speak French with in person. I couldn't find a solution online, and it was really hard to find someone to speak with at my college, so I started and ran a Language Exchange program at my university for 3 years. It was completely selfish -- all I wanted was to speak French with someone. The outcome was HUGE. The encouragement and appreciation everyone had when they came to sign up was incredible, and I realized that there is a really big need for this type of matchmaking service.
What is the biggest lesson you've learned since you started on your entrepreneurial journey?
Tangibly, I taught myself how to program, solely to build Lexody. I tried previously to hire, on 3 separate occasions, a developer. The issue always came back to one thing: I didn't fully know what I was asking them to do. I've been programming for about 1.5 years now (mainly backend), and I find it just as exciting as learning a spoken language. Lesson learned here: all entrepreneurs need to have at least a basic understanding of all aspects of the business, in order to adequately give direction to other members of the company.
That being said, I am a get-it-done kind of person, and a huge lesson is that I can't do it all myself. Finding the perfect partners is half the battle. It's like dating.
What does your ideal work environment look like?
My ideal work environment is to be surrounded by other equally ambitious people, who are passionate about what they are doing. I have an office space budget of $100/month, for now, and when I found Croissant, with a plan at that exact price, I honestly got really excited. The idea of being able to work in different co-working spaces and accelerators, without the applications and price tag, is more than ideal for any new startup.