Create opportunities. Don’t look for them!

Knowledge X or how to hack a language in 3 months for free

Please introduce yourself and your startup Knowledge X to our readers!
My name is Léo Chazalon and together with Ankita Bhattacharya and Julie Bernès, we are three students studying in France who run Knowledge X, based in Paris. Knowledge X created in February 2017, is a student-based platform operating through Facebook, built to facilitate the learning of foreign languages free of cost in today’s incredibly interconnected world. We connect students worldwide with native speakers through various social media like Facebook, Skype etc. with the aim of achieving basic fluency in 3 months and offer them supplementary tools to learn a language. The world essentially functions on the basis of exchange, we all have something to offer to someone else. The startup was built because we strongly believe that learning should not be something that comes at a cost.

How did you get the idea to Knowledge X?
Like most students out there, I used to take language classes in high school. I made very little progress and thought I would get better once I got to university. I was wrong and so was the educational system. Firstly, the teacher-student ratio is about 1:25, which hardly leaves you any free time to discuss on a 1-to-1 basis with your teacher. Secondly, conventional language classes don’t emphasise on spoken fluency, the most important aspect of learning a language. Thirdly, it is ironic that languages classes are actually proven to be inefficient. French students for example, rank 22nd out of the 28 EU countries in English fluency.

Therefore, I decided to create a participatory platform for students in the same situation around the world through which one can connect with a native student speaker to practise their target language.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
The idea faced some criticism from most people, as it provides a relaxed alternative to counter the long-established methods of learning. The entire idea of learning as an exchange through the internet is still unacceptable to many which is why we are even more determined to change this idea and revolutionise the existing system.

Knowledge X faced quite a lot of challenges at the outset. My initial partners quit during the early phase of expansion but we still persevered because I was extremely passionate about the idea. I consider quitters as good riddance. Another obstacle was that at the outset language exchanges didn’t last more than a few weeks. We then we came up with tools with greater youth-appeal that kept them hooked onto practising with their language partner — Youtube, Netflix, music, memes etc. The third challenge which we are currently facing is to gather additional investment for the startup to implement certain ideas and projects.

Who is your target audience?
Students. We target high-school and university goers. 95% of them necessarily learn a foreign language, or have learnt one. How many of them make good use of it? Barely a few. Knowledge X allows them to continue practising with people their age until they master it in 3 months, free of cost.

What is the USP of your startup?
We offer free language learning for students and the most important aspect of the language-exchange offered by our startup is that it is rapid, effective and constantly updating keeping the student’s satisfaction at the heart of all actions. What differentiates us from other language-learning apps/websites is that the exchange is very relaxed and informal and we constantly supplement their learning through useful modern tools that deepen their understanding of languages.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
We operate in a considerably intensive manner, dedicating our day to answering messages from various users as well as matching them. We generally begin the day by brainstorming on creative marketing strategies and intensive brand-building. Lunch breaks are eating ramen and watching Rick and Morty. We dedicate the evenings to amplifying student reach through fun ways of social media marketing. Making memes on foreign language learning for example is a part of our daily agenda all to keep up with our target audience. Being students ourselves, this translates into a lot of fun as well.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Knowledge X in five years?
Knowledge X is still at its budding phase but it is growing rapidly in the student community. Five years down the line, we envision numerous partnerships with universities and language institutes around the world, following a couple we’ve just established in Germany and Nigeria. We plan to develop our own user-interface, through an app where we would open Knowledge X to the exchange of all kinds of knowledge, ranging from formal subjects like Math to informal skills like ‘how to be more sociable’. We plan on introducing our own currency facilitating exchange between people, even with asymmetrical skills. By then, we will have created a fun alternative to paid classes at University. You will be able to learn anything from your bed, for free and at your rhythm.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
1. Create opportunities. Don’t look for them.
2. Reward your team.
3. Be positive, some days will go well, some will go terrible. Never get overwhelmed by either.

More information you will find here

Thank you Léo Chazalon for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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