How to relocate to Silicon valley and get into the 500 Startups accelerator: Experience of co-founder Linguatrip Marina Mogilko

Linguatrip is the platform through which you can book a language course in any country of the world. For example, if you teach English, on our platform you can book a trip to an English speaking country. Studying foreign language in an accredited school, accommodation, all transfers, and so on. That is such a for language travel.

We started in 2011 as an offline Agency. We had an office, where they all came and signed paper contracts. A couple of years we realized that everything is already happening online. Tickets, hotels.. And when people are planning a trip to study for two or three weeks, they could book a course and accommodation online as they have become accustomed to booking flights and hotels.

We began to study the market, I realized that there is no such service, and begun to do — and in 2015 start the platform Linguatrip. Now we have about 140 different cities and 3,700 different courses around the world. At first we were just looking for different accelerators and filed there application — and then I met in St. Petersburg with entrepreneur John Ramey. He spent a mentoring session, allocating 20 minutes for each project.

I didnt really want to go, because are a little tired of these start up meetings, but in the end still went and presented to him the project and he came to a complete delight. Said introduces us to the guys from the Valley and will provide people from 500 Startups (venture Fund and startup accelerator in Silicon valley — CA. Ed.). The very next day there was an interview.

Ten minutes we talked in Skype. I almost didnt prepare, as I viewed their website, saw that the set is closed, and thought. “Well, not this time”. But I was lucky. The girl with whom I spoke, a few months ago I came back from Chile, where he taught Spanish.

She said that when looking for a school that didnt understand why until now no one has done something like for booking most of these schools. Two days later we got an invitation — and it turned out to move to Silicon valley. Everything was very fast.

I have always rooted languages. When I was 14, my parents sent me to exchange for two weeks in England to consolidate what I learned in school. I arrived and realized that nine years of language study I practically gave nothing. I cant speak on it. Yes, I have some sort of base in the style of London is the capital of Great Britain — but crack I cant.

By the end of the second week I was more or less to understand others, and when he returned to Russia, won city Olympiad on English. This trip was my first experience. I realized that in a different way to teach languages do not want. The language must be spoken and not just books to read.

Then, I taught German, she was looking for a school abroad. I got it in December of last year, when I was taking the GMAT (test for admission in business schools — approx. Ed.).

I just thought I want to share my story with the children about how its all done. Well, for myself for the future in case I ever wanted to re-take. Two weeks passed TOEFL, I recorded a video about it. The topic was hot. I myself during the preparation of saw how little decent information about it was in Russian.

So I started to make videos about the training. Eventually the guys started to write and ask to answer certain questions. My viewers constantly tell me ideas for the next video. Now in the blog variety of topics.

Life in America, business, University studies, admission.. But the overall focus will still be on education. I applied to six universities, I was accepted to five, and two of them provided me with full funding.

We have a lot of talented guys who underestimate themselves. I had the same problem. It seemed to me that there are so many people who are much smarter, and it is unclear why it should take me. But you need to be able to serve properly.

For example, if you have certificates from some regional competitions — make sure you speak about it, for Americans it is of great importance. You need to present it in a way that is really cool. Well actually it is. Do not lower your achievements. When I wrote the summary, I just picked up a pile of their letters and have listed them all.

Of course, it looks cool. Oh and I had a high GPA in the University. When we received the invitation to the Valley, decided to see how much is the rent of the apartment. It turned out that the price is less than $2000 — its something unreal.

The search took about four days. First, we searched for housing sites, but it was useless. People first invite to a screening, and then propose an apartment twice as expensive. In the end we just started to avoid all the houses around the office and ask if there is any free apartment, and found their.

Then another two weeks waiting for the repairs, wandering through the hotels (and again, this is very expensive, hotels under $100 per night simply doesnt exist). The food is also very expensive. The prices here are designed for employees of large technology companies like Google and Facebook. For example, an Intern at Facebook earns $7000 per month.

I imagined Silicon valley as a high-tech city, and we arrived in a quiet village of one-storied houses. The only difference from the usual American province is riding on the roads the Google cars without drivers (self-driving car). Come and hangout in the Valley is absolutely crazy.

You meet someone, and his own startup and he is the head of the Department in YouTube, which you use every day. On contact they go easily, especially when youre in the Valley. We tried to contact a couple of companies while I was in Russia, but they are not very willing to answer. Another thing, when you come to the Valley, you are introduced or you introduce themselves, mention famous local accelerator — and immediately get some credibility.

Over the past seven months we went on two days in Las Vegas and a week in Los Angeles. And there we also did a lot of work. Another went to a business meeting in Miami, but there was one day I had a day off. When you own a startup, theres no day when you can turn off mail and other means of communication with the world.

Constantly there is some work, customers book courses at night and on weekends and holidays. Although Yes, I travel a lot — especially often went before. In Los Angeles loved Santa Monica, we lived in the area. By the way, they have there own Silicon valley — Silicon Beach (the area on the West side, where there is about 500 different companies, including the offices of Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, BuzzFeed and MySpace — approx.

Ed.). But the problem is that in Los Angeles is not so much a culture of investment. It is a city for MediaStation.

The main thing is that the product worked, so it was useful. Success criteria are slightly different here from all over the world. There are many companies that do not bring big profits, but they are used by hundreds of millions of people. In the Valley most of the startups was done in order to sell themselves to large companies. If you draw a line.

To be successful, it is necessary that your service was used by very many people, or that it can yield some cool money. Americans earn a lot and usually dont try to save. They save time, not money.

For example, there is a service for the delivery of food, which for $80 per week will receive four dinner. We decided to try. All these products can be bought independently in the shop and get half the price. I have a different mentality, I would not use it, when the shop is only five minutes. Or service instacart, when you come into the store and surcharge just take already assembled ready for you package.

Another difference. We believed that in 23-25 years old already need to be defined in life, to find a stable job, to start to build a family, to settle down. To go to study in 25 years is already something terrible. I get a lot of letters.

“I think Ill take”. But in America, the masters are men from 25 years and above. I know people who and 50, and 60 went to get another education. You should never stop learning, to experiment and try something new.


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