How to scale up your business
Mait Müntel, CEO at Lingvist Technologies OÜ:
I worked at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) and was a part of the team that discovered the Higgs boson. I used my scientific knowledge to create a new software product Lingvist, which makes language learning significantly faster. With the help of Enterprise Europe Network I got funding from the EU's SME Instrument programme that helped me to improve my product and grow internationally. Here's what I learned with my team along the way:
Start with small
You have an idea but you don´t yet know how to make it happen? First, identify a number of angel investors and apply for small-scale grants or for business accelerator programmes. For us, this was a springboard to move forward and build the prototype of our software. You may still not be ready to launch onto the market, but these first steps give you skills to build your business and finances to develop your product.
Keep your head up
There will be obstacles on your way, but don't give up. Follow your instinct. When we considered applying for EU funding, some investors and advisors thought it would be a distraction from our business goals. But we felt strongly that applying for the SME instrument aligned with our core goals for Lingvist. This is when we talked to our local expert from the Enterprise Europe Network.
Talk to the Enterprise Europe Network
We discussed our options with our local Network advisers who suggested applying for the SME Instrument which is designed to finance our product development and early scale-up. With their support, we were able to build a project plan that matched our needs and aligned with our business goals. The Network's advisers helped us to prepare a winning application. They were also there to help us successfully manage and complete the project and reach our objectives.
Having won the grant helped us to raise Series A funding at much more favourable terms for us. The Series A investment allowed us to commercialise the products we had developed with the help of the SME Instrument. The Network's support was a vital part of our journey to become a global provider of digital language learning products. We currently have over a million users of our app and have big plans for further growth. So don´t let the first setbacks hold you down!
Picture © Lingvist Inc. 2017