Breaking down the cost of Lingumi for our Community
Dear current and future Lingumi families,
I’m Toby Mather, the co-founder and CEO of Lingumi. Last year, I answered 7,177 messages from you, our customers. My average reply time is about 2 hours (we’d like to get faster!) and it seems like my weekends were often occupied with it...
You’ve helped us improve our product every week for 3 years. It’s also a good way to practice my languages (I speak 6 at different levels, though my Chinese is bad!). And sometimes, you’ve said you quite like getting messages from me:
We think the industry of ‘education’ is often confusing and unfair. Some families don’t teach their children English at all before 7 years old, because they think it’s expensive, or impossible. Others spend $2000 on live teaching classes when their child is too young to benefit from live teachers.
But here’s a secret: the best way for your child to develop a foundation in English is to begin English is at home, with the world’s best teacher: you, mum or dad. And, with our help, it doesn’t matter if you don’t speak English yourself.
Below, you’ll find out:
- How much it costs for your child to learn English with Lingumi?
- How do we decide the price of Lingumi?
- How we spend your money?
- How much does it cost for my child to learn English?
1. How much does it cost to learn English with Lingumi?
One question I hear frequently from new Lingumi families is ‘how much does it cost?’ or ‘apps should be free?!’.Some apps are free. But all apps cost money to make and maintain. Free ones are often using advertising, or are poorly-designed and never updated, or track you and sell that data.
At Lingumi, we don’t do that. Like any teacher or course, we charge our customers money to use our service (though you can try it for free!). In order to hire the best team to make our service effective, affordable, and fun, we need money from customers (you) and our investors, to help us develop the first ever effective pre-school English learning platform.
Lingumi costs approximately €10 a month. Does that sound expensive?
When I was an English teacher, I charged 2x that amount per lesson. It’s more than a free kids app full of advertising or badly-designed, addictive content. But it’s €900 less each year than the British Council’s Early Years English courses. And we believe Lingumi is as effective and more suitable for kids under 6, who probably should be learning through playing with you at home, not sitting at a desk (yet!).
It’s an affordable, positive family investment that works - let’s listen to Thomas (7) speaking English, having only learned using Lingumi for the previous 9 months:
His English isn’t perfect - but it’s very impressive for a child who is just beginning school, and his mum, Jessie, has done it for less than €100 by using Lingumi. And our Curriculum is getting better every week.
2. How do we decide the price of Lingumi?
When we founded Lingumi, our vision was to build an effective, fun way for children to develop a foundation in English for 1/10th of the cost of the typical market price.
At an average of €1000+ per year for a classroom early English course, and less than €100 a year for Lingumi, we think we’ve achieved that. That’s why we charge about €10 each month for our service. We’re not profitable yet, as you’ll learn below...but as we grow, we think we soon will be.
Our guarantee to you is that if your child doesn’t reach our language goals, we’ll give you the next quarter free. And compared to an English course designed to hit the same goals in a group class, it’s 90% cheaper, and definitely more fun.
3. How do we spend your money?
Most companies are very secretive about how they use your money. Today, we’ve decided to open that up to our network of families.
Most families use Lingumi for about 12-14 months. So, let’s imagine you have a great experience during the free trial, and decide to buy a year of Lingumi. That costs a bit less than €100, but I’ll use it because it’s a round number.
Of that €100, we give:
- €30 to Apple or Google, if you buy through the app store, or, if you buy on our website;
- €3 to our payment processors;
- €14 to the taxman in your country, in sales tax (typically);
- €53 for our team’s salaries (to live, pay our rent, and feed our kids);
- €20 on marketing;
- €5 on our office space;
- €4.30 on travel costs (like coming to run free events in your city);
- €5.60 on the software we use to make and run the app;
- €3.20 on lawyers and accountants;
- €0.25 on computers and other hardware;
- €0.20 on internet and calls, and;
- €1.80 on other bits and bobs like expenses and coffee and a few team meals and treats.
That totals €140.35 of expenditure for your €100. That means, we’re not yet profitable. That’s quite normal amongst startups. Your €100 is subsidising our costs, but our investors give us capital to help us continue to build the business.
Why do they do that? Because as we grow the Lingumi community, the same small team can deliver our service to more and more people, without having to hire teachers or open schools, improving our ‘margin’. That’ll help us become profitable, and to have a very big impact on the way English is learned around the world. Because we’re better at teaching English than other apps, learning systems, or services, we think it’ll make us the world leader for effective, affordable early education.
How can you help? Read our Mission here, then join us in that mission.
By the time they start English classes at primary school, your child will have a CEFR pre-A1 level foundation in the English language if you’re a Lingumi family starting our Curriculum in 2019. That’s the European standard that we aim to get your child to.
When they get to school, they’ll learn faster and with more confidence in the classroom, have a more natural accent, and will find exams in the future much easier and less stressful! In the past, that would have cost you €1000-2000, but we think we can do it for about €100.
If you can find a service that’s more effective, let us know. If your child uses Lingumi regularly for more than a year and hasn’t reached more than half of the language goals in our new curriculum, let us know. And if you can help us grow the Lingumi network, join our mission.