“Focus on your strengths, and get the right people around you to do the rest.” ; Interview with Dr. Melody Lang
This interview is part of the EdTech Female Founder (#EFF) story series brought to you by SuperCharger Ventures.
What inspired you to start your EdTech Founder journey?
Having been an operator, investor and advisor in EdTech, I realised that what I enjoyed the most was being hands on. So when Josh offered to join as cofounder, it seemed like the right thing to do!
Describe your company in one sentence
Mindstone is a revolutionary platform helping you learn faster, remember more and get things done.
What should an aspiring EdTech founder know before initiating their startup journey?
The EdTech industry is very complex due to the number of different stakeholders. Often, the end customer is not the end user.
Beware whom you’re selling to: sales cycles are long when selling to institutions, and don’t forget that governments change (ie your contract may come to an end with a new election). Lastly, ask yourself whether a teenager would easily ask their parents for money to learn when they already need some for other things…
Focus on your strengths, and get the right people around you to do the rest.
What has been the most difficult moment as a founder and how did you overcome it?
With only one year behind us, we probably haven’t encountered such difficult moments yet. But if I had to pick a challenge, it would be around team building: making the right hires and knowing when it’s not working out. I’m grateful for my cofounder who is taking a lot of that responsibility, as it’s always uncomfortable to let someone go.
To overcome this, we have a 30/60/90 day plan with clear expectations and weekly reviews, so that it never comes as a surprise to the team member if he/she doesn’t reach these expectations. We’re giving everybody a chance to develop and grow.
What can the EdTech industry do to improve the gender gap?
The EdTech industry? or the VCs? Female founders can certainly be coached, but so should investors to get rid of biases and the weight of patriarchy.
I would also recommend to promote heavily the Global Equality Collective: https://thegec.org/, as it’s from birth that we should aim to raise our children in a gender neutral environment. This is what will empower them later on, and shape a world with a minimised gender gap across the board.
Can you tell us about a role model of yours?
Arianna Huffington has such an impressive career. The way she handled and shared the learnings she got from her burnout will hopefully inspire many ambitious professional women in the world. Somehow, I feel that my life mission is very much aligned with the one she set for Thrive Global: help people bring positive changes into their lives.
Can you share an example of when you had to pivot?
As a corollary of Covid and lockdown, we decided to focus on Higher Education students in stage 1 when originally, Mindstone at that stage was aimed at professionals in knowledge-heavy industries.
What will you consider as success in 5 years from now?
In 5 years from now, my sons will be 18 and 15 years old. So I would consider a success for them to be healthy balanced fulfilled young men.
On the professional front, I would consider a success to have millions of empowered learners on Mindstone who can easily upskill or reskill themselves, not only to stay relevant to the fast-pacing workplace, but also to find purpose and thrive.
Looking back, what advice would you have liked to have received before starting your company?
Be disciplined with setting boundaries: your children should always come first.