Reprint & Permission About Us Disclamer

mYngle was one of the pioneers in live online (language) training, so now that we are at the cross road, we can benefit from many years of experience and proven capabilities to deliver successful online training. Also, we have always been uncompromising on the quality of the service we offer, always aligning with what customers want.

20 Innovative Companies to Watch of 2021

mYngle
The Executive Headlines

Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between The Executive Headlines and Founder, Marina Tognetti of mYngle

I am a tech entrepreneur, founder of myngle.com, but the passion for entrepreneurship came later on in my career. Before mYngle, I had a successful career by large multinationals, Procter & Gamble, Philips, Sara Lee, The Boston Consulting Group and eBay; living and working in different Countries, and got an MBA from INSEAD. 

It was when working as consultant on a project on internet strategy that I first saw the potential of internet to disrupt entire industries and change forever the way we buy/sell/interact. I had to be part of that! 

mYngle named a 20 Innovative Companies to Watch of 2021 by The Executive Headlines. The initial idea came from my own personal needs. Like many people back then I was looking at China for opportunities. The first step was learning Chinese. But finding a way to learn the language was not easy for me as a busy manager. I tried everything: an evening school, CDs/ DVDs, a Dutch teacher trying to teach Chinese, a Chinese student that could not teach… I got quite frustrated. If I were living in China- I thought- I could easily find a good teacher! That was when the idea hit me:  there are thousands of teachers all over the world, I just need to use the power of the internet to

Education was (and in large part still is) operating in the old traditional way, offering learners  what is available, not what they need. But “One size does not fit all.” By understanding the customer and diversifying our offer in terms of teacher- content- frequency, we expanded our offering and developed solutions that can match each specific need.

  How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience. 

We had launched mYngle as a marketplace, something I knew very well from my previous eBay experience. We thought we got it all: funding, lots of Awards and PR, a very motivated team. But something in the business model was not functioning as we expected. We listened to our customers and they gave us the new direction, from an open marketplace to a quality global online school, from B2C to B2B. 

The key to success was accepting that change was needed and not being afraid to question assumptions, truly listening to our customers. 

 

      What kind of mixed responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company? 

Customers have always been central to mYngle, and their feedback was the base upon which we built our platform, shaped the services, developed and evolved the whole company. It was also the key to discover that we did not have yet the right product-market fit when we launched mYngle, to understand how to evolve into a different direction.  

This is also reflected in our internal evaluation systems and how we assess our job. We constantly monitor our users’ reactions and try to adjust accordingly, using adapted versions of NPS (Net Promoter Score), which defines that only excellence counts. Our average lessons’ scores are 4.9/5.0.  And our first corporate customer is still with us, 10 years later… Results speak for themselves! 

What challenges did you face in the initial years? What can your peers learn from it? 

Building a business from scratch is always challenging, building a tech start-up disrupting an industry as traditional as that of education, is exponentially more challenging (especially 10+ years ago, when we started). There are all sorts of resistances - those of a still immature market- that you have to bypass: from the stereotypes consumers have in their minds to the (conservative) opinions of people around you. Now such a concept seems logical, but at that time I had to push it forward despite very few people initially believed in the idea. Also, starting an innovative company meant that there was no set path I could follow. I had to learn and adapt along the way. 

So don’t worry too much, if you do not get it right from the beginning. Entrepreneurship is not about ‘’knowing it all’’ but is about learning and adapting. Change and evolving is your best ally. 

Fostering a culture of feedback is crucial to the success of every organization. How is this true with your company?

I order to achieve innovation, being agile is paramount. We've been able to secure our position as one of the leaders in our segment by being diligent to build solid principles, work processes, and a team that has the capability and will to change and adapt according to our always evolving surroundings. 

This can only be obtained with a culture of feedback as well as stimulating experimentation and allowing mistakes. We look in our staff for entrepreneurs, people who do not keep the status quo, but push themselves beyond their comfort zone. If you try ten new things, some will fail, some will be OK, and one will make a difference. We are looking for that ‘’special one’’. 

 

If you have to list five factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?

Clear vision: the vision has always stayed clear and guided all main decisions. 

Customer orientation: we constantly listen to users’ feedback and improve accordingly. 

Entrepreneurial culture: we try to develop people that think and not only do ‘’jobs’’.  

Ability to change: in order to succeed, you have to be flexible and embrace change. 

Learning organization: learning is the key to success. In order to learn, you have to recognize and accept that something can be done better.  

 

   What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s reputation? 

mYngle was one of the pioneers in live online (language) training, so now that we are at the cross road, we can benefit from many years of experience and proven capabilities to deliver successful online training. Also, we have always been uncompromising on the quality of the service we offer, always aligning with what customers want. 

That is where mYngle can make an impact, keeping ahead in this digital transformation by constantly innovating and pursuing the best possible quality and results, educating the market on the difference between improvised solutions and years of expertise. Online learning will be an intrinsic part of the new normal, and mYngle a part of it. 

 

How do you and your company contribute to the global IT platform and society at large? 

Even before COVID, the (language) training market was already in the transition from offline to online, the shift accelerating in the past years. This age of quarantines, social distancing, and remote working fast-tracked the trend, and online education become in many cases the only possible way of learning. 

In response to this increase in demand for online training, many traditional offline players have been rushing to find a quick-fix, moving their existing solutions online. Good remote training, however, is not just a matter of adding a tech solution for the virtual classroom and moving a teacher from a physical classroom to a computer, but it requires a whole new set of expertise and capabilities different from those of offline education. The way the training is delivered, the teaching, content, interaction etc., all need to change in order to provide a good user experience. 

Do you have any new products or services ready to be/getting ready to be launched? 

There is not one specific product, as we are constantly evolving and improving our products and services. COVID-19 has completely changed the world as we know it, causing major disruption to many businesses. While many of the traditional offline players have been challenged by this sudden shift, mYngle was already in the ‘right place’, as our solution was already remote. We built on many years of experience and know that migrating existing classroom training programs to digital is not just the mere application of existing technology solutions. Rather, it requires a more fundamental rethinking of the total learning experience, from trainers to content, to the blended form. We will keep on improving this while aligning to this growing market trend. 

About your plans, where do you see your company a couple of years from now? 

The future challenge for mYngle will be in keeping innovating and being ahead while the market moves from early stage to more mature. It is a critical transition phase, when it is easy to rest on what is achieved and ignore new signals.