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Lemonade's 'a goal you can afford'.

Hello. I’m Yura Seo, the CEO of Lemonade.

How do you feel when you think about studying a foreign language? Do you feel anxious, frustrated or under pressure, rather than approaching it with a positive mindset? People tend to be impatient when it comes to learning a foreign language. However, if we start studying quickly, we will likely fail. The idea of being late makes us impatient, but if we move too quickly, we will set goals that are unattainable.

That’s why when we think of language study, we often associate it with negative words and phrases like ‘burden’, ‘stress’ and ‘something we have to do’. It’s an undeniable and inconvenient truth. One reason for this is that the last decade of foreign language education, centered around setting unachievable goals, has made the whole experience very unpleasant.

It is said that an average person needs to invest at least 720 hours into learning a language to reach an intermediate level. That means even if you study for an hour a day, it would take you two years to reach that level of proficiency. However, the reality is that it is very difficult to concentrate for even an hour a week, let alone an hour a day! In order to achieve intermediate level in a foreign language, a more realistic timeframe would be two to three years, or even five years.

But in this market, no one reveals the reality. Companies make attractive but unrealistic promises such as “10 minutes a day”, “fluent in 1 year” and “100% guaranteed performance improvement”. For them, it seems attracting attention is more important than gaining the trust of their customers.

An effective foreign language learning product should be i) proven to actually improve a learner’s language skills, ii) tailored to a learner’s goals and current level, iii) light and easygoing, making it possible for someone to learn continuously in the mid to long term, and iv) an affordable product. Can you think of even one company that meets all these criteria? I don’t think so, but in 10 years, we will all think of ‘Lemonade’.

So Lemonade sells 'a goal you can afford'. We are constantly researching new study methods to allow anyone to feel that small sense of accomplishment. We don’t promote slogans such as “10 minutes a day”, “fluent in 1 year” and “100% guaranteed performance improvement”. We create foreign language education contents and services that anyone can enjoy, rather than make empty promises that guarantee nothing. That is our promise to our customers.

To create a ‘goal you can afford’, we focus on three things:

- Price competitiveness: allowing anyone to access our content at an affordable price.

- A change of perspective: breaking the notion that ‘studying is something you must endure’.

- Continuous management: presenting learners with a roadmap to achieve their ultimate goals.

At first glance, it might seem like an easy goal, but it’s a challenge that most companies have not been able to solve for decades: that is, creating a service that is completely tailored to the perspective of real learners, not the perspective of the company. In tackling this challenge, Lemonade aims to create educational services that are loved by all learners in the APAC region and beyond.

What kind of company is Day One Company's Lemonade?

We started by thinking “let’s make a more flexible and efficient company” by creating teams of around 10 people, united with passion and spirit. Sales in our first year, achieved by teams with an average age of only 27, were 3 billion won (approx. $2.5 million). As of July 2020, two and a half years later, we have grown into a company with a run rate exceeding 20 billion won (approx. $16.7 million).

We offer content in seven languages and three different formats to the Korean and Japanese markets.

Despite starting with a team that had little experience and understanding of business, we have been able to grow into an organization that is challenging for the number 1 company in Asia.

With the global language education market growing to nearly 300 trillion won, sales of publications and offline lectures common among older generations are still driving the market. EduTech accounts for only 7% of the current education market, which is said to be the most important way to bring about innovation in the market. I think Lemonade has an opportunity in this market.

This is how we work in order to focus on achieving our goals and not miss out on a market opportunity:

1. Passion for Language:

All of our actions start with sincere empathy for the problems our customers face. Lemonade recognizes the problems facing language education these days and makes solving it our main mission.

2. High Responsibility & High Freedom:

We believe that in order to grow a company, faith in our employees is a prerequisite. We grow through trust, support and mentoring, not through monitoring and micromanaging. Providing our staff with autonomy and responsibility enables us to create customer impact.

3. Ultimate Optimism:

Even if you brainwash yourself into thinking it is going to work, in business, it doesn’t always pan out as you think. We maintain a positive mindset and think about success 100 times a day, even if we are afraid. There are many reasons why something doesn’t work, but it’s important to identify that reason and try again

4. Performance Oriented Results

We measure our achievements based on quantitative results. We believe in sharing what we’ve learned so as not to repeat the same mistakes, enabling us to make a better impact on our customers.

5. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open

If we don’t challenge ourselves, nothing will change. Challenging ourselves is our biggest driving factor. We always look for better ways, more efficient ways, and even more fun ways to do things. Lemonade is an organization that does unprecedented things.

In fact, more than 70% of our team members are proficient in a second language, with 10 languages spoken throughout the company. We are a determined young startup who is as diverse as our language skills, but also mature enough to know the virtues of humility. Here is a summary of our characteristics:

- People who strive for perfection by constantly setting high expectations of ourselves

- People who believe in the value of teamwork rather than individual contributions

- People who approach new ideas to solve problems like an adventure

- People who put ourselves in others’ shoes in order to better develop our own perspective

- People who have faith in our ability to change the world

This is the organizational culture we have created:

1. We respect each individual’s personality and taste

We love your uniqueness - that’s what makes you special. We aim to be a colorful organization full of individual characters.

2. We try to minimize errors in our thoughts

The human brain is lazy. We must challenge ourselves, be strict with ourselves, and always maintain objectivity. We praise the attitude of finding compromises and focusing on problem solving, rather than employing a black-and-white logic or looking back emotionally on past mistakes.

3. We don’t force a bond between company and employee

Company dinners? Only twice a year at most, because a company is just a place to work.

4. We aim to develop smart work methods

At first, we may follow a manual, but after that, we constantly look for more sustainable ways to improve how we work.

5. We aim for the best compensation policy.

We strive to do the best we can in the education industry, including having the highest annual salary compared to our competitors, and support of up to $5,000 annually for additional training and professional development.


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