Language one of the most important form of communication since ages. From ancient time humans have been communicating in different languages across the world. There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today. However, about 2,000 of those languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers. Language is obviously a vital tool. Not only is it a means of communicating thoughts and ideas, but it forges friendships, cultural ties, and economic relationships. Throughout history, many have reflected on the importance of language. In short, language retention helps maintain feelings of cultural kinship.
As the nations of the world become more accessible to one another, the advantages of speaking more than one language become more evident. Knowing more than one language isn’t just a mark of a good education anymore. Being bilingual is an edge in school, in the workplace and in life.
Studies have shown that being bilingual gives students an advantage in scholastic tasks. Many aspects of brain function are strengthened by learning and practising another language. Knowing another language enhances memory, improves decision-making skills, makes you more perceptive, and boosts your abilities within your native language. It may even help stave off dementia.
More over in this Globalized Business world where people trade, study and do business across the nations its very important to have fluency in more than one language for personal and professional growth. Meet David P Steel, his venture L-Pub Helping business, individuals enhance their language skills. They assist both B2B & B2C customers with their pool of talented team members.
Lets meet David and find his journey of working on this wonderful idea.
1.What is the name of your venture?
2.Who is your target audience?
Our B2C target audience is anyone learning a foreign language. Our B2B target audience is content owners, typically publishers, who have interesting content that we can turn into an L-Book (a tool for learning languages).
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country)? What are your target areas?
We are based in Offenbach, Germany. It is right next to Frankfurt in the German State of Hesse. Our products are targeted to people everywhere in the world.
4.What problems does your venture solve? What are your products or services.
We help make learning a foreign language much more enjoyable, because we base the learning on existing content that people love to read anyway. Here’s an example: we take a publisher’s bestselling e-book and annotate it with language learning tips, to create an L-Book. When a learner doesn’t understand a word, they just click on it and get a translation, learning tips and the possibility to create personalized exercises out of the same sentence.
5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to an existence?
We are all people who have lived in different countries and had to learn foreign languages. We got fed up with existing digital solutions that seemed kind of boring and didn’t let us learn the things that were relevant to us. We love the fact that you can look up words in e-books, but often they don’t give the right information a learner needs. We improved that in L-Books. You get the right definitions and the pop-ups don’t take you off the page. We also thought it would be wonderful to be able to create exercises out of any sentence, so you can practice the words you want to learn in a meaningful context. Our exercises also give feedback on whether you were right or not. No one else is offering this combination of features right now.
6.How did you identify your co-founder?
It started with two of us who are friends. Soon we found two other people who were passionate about the idea and we decided to form a company together.
7.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
We started with L-Books for German as a foreign language. It was tough because it’s not such an easy language to learn as a human or to train our software to understand either. In the next two years we are aiming to offer L-Books for learning English, French and Spanish too. In 5 years we hope to be successful enough that we can start to do other languages, such as Chinese, Portuguese or even minor languages like Swedish.
8.Where do you want to see yourself in the next 5 years?
We want to have lots of happy customers who are successfully learning new languages with our L-Books. Maybe we will also have offices in America and Asia by then. I think that would be cool.
9.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
Yes, we are in an early Series A phase of funding. That means we have some first customers and first investors but still need to prove that we can get enough customers to turn a profit. We probably need another financing round by the end of 2017, beginning of 2018.
10.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Everyone who is learning a foreign language loves the idea of L-Books. However, it is more difficult to convince investors and publishers. We spent a lot of time and energy convincing these key decision-makers, which we hope will get easier as we get further along.
11.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
I am married. Most of us at L-Pub are either married or in committed relationships. I don’t think that makes a difference with regards to the quality of the work we deliver. Maybe it helps us be more focused on our work though, because we are not out there looking for partners, which can be very draining and time-consuming.
12.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I love skiing, going to the cinema and travelling. I love hanging out with friends and playing with our cat. Cats are very entertaining.
13.What’s your favourite food & holiday destination?
I love Mexican and Indian food probably the best. My favourite holiday destination is the mountains, any mountains.
14.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
I started my career as a musician and composer, so I really admire people like Sting, David Bowie and Bono Vox. They are artists but also very vocal about their opinions and vision for the world. I think you need to have a vision, because otherwise you might become cynical. There is a lot of sad things happening in our world. I think we have to keep looking for the good and trying to correct the wrongs whenever we can. I believe in everyday people. Most people in world I’ve met are good people. They want to do something meaningful with their lives. If we can find positive meaning in life, I think there would be fewer problems.
15.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
As an entrepreneur you have to be a risk-taker. Taking risks means making yourself vulnerable and you can never exclude the possibility of failure. Maybe entrepreneurs are a little bit crazy. I am trying to take more calculated risks as I get older, but I am still an innovator at heart and that means that ideas go before any consideration of whether I will make money. I think if you work for someone else then you generally think about the money first and the idea second.
16.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I think once I have an idea, I would start doing traction models earlier on. In the past I tended to just be so full of passion that I just ran with the idea and didn’t care if there was a market for it. Then again, maybe there are lots of things I never would have done if I tested them first. It is hard to say. I don’t really regret anything.
17.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & social life?
As an entrepreneur you need discipline and focus. That means you also need to find time for family and friends, even if you are putting in a 60-hour week. I have always made a point of maintaining a good work/life balance and I encourage that in my staff too. Of course, there are evenings and weekends which I have to work. Then there are other times when I’ll take a 3 or 4 day weekend to travel somewhere with my family. Your family does need to be flexible and understanding, but as an entrepreneur you should not make work the only thing you live for.
18.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
If you are passionate about something, that is a real power that you should not bottle up. Use it to explore your options. At the end of your life, I think you will be more fulfilled if you can look back and say: “I tried to do a lot of things, some of them failed some of them didn’t.” If you don’t try anything, you will look back on your life with regret.
19.Tell us something about your education & family background.
I was born and raised in the U.S., but have lived most of my life in Europe. My ancestors are Swedish, so maybe I was drawn back to the “old country” as my father referred to Europe. I have never lived in Sweden, but I have friends and relatives there I like to visit often. I studied Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Denver. I also did a semester at the Université de Fribourg in Switzerland. Fribourg is a bilingual town (German / French) and that really stuck with me. I am really fascinated by languages.
20.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
We base our learning tools on authentic content. We work with publishers who have content that is proven to be appealing to audiences. Other language learning offers either have content that has been especially prepared for learners and does not have a high entertainment value or they work with “free” content. We believe in the value of good stories. And we believe in the value of copyright.
21.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
+49 69 / 5092 9977-2
CEO: David P. Steel
Our website for people learning other foreign languages:
Our website for content owners (such as publishers):