Aliaksei Rudak is the founder of the Lingvanex LLC company that makes a machine translation system.
He Graduated from Belorussian State Technological University as a bachelor of software engineering in 2008.
He has 15 years of tech experience with 8 years of business background. He lives in Minsk (Belarus)
In an exclusive interview with AsiaTechDaily, Aliaksei says:
Make the launch of your product as a success story with the roadmap of problems you solved. Every founder has lots of’ interesting things to tell, and that information will be valuable to your potential customers. Make a corporate blog or something.
The main idea is to have good networking to find the right people and make a skilled team. Goog team can do any complex product very fast. To have good networking, you should be famous in your professional community as a leader in some fields (programming, marketing, business, etc.) so people can trust you. Don’t be shy and talk about your ideas everywhere. Be social. This is the best advice.
Read on to know more about Aliaksei Rudak and his journey.
Please tell me about your personal background, and what are you working on currently?
Aliaksei Rudak: My name is Aliaksei Rudak, and I’m the founder of the Lingvanex LLC company that works on neural machine translation.
We have created translator applications for most platforms like mobile, desktop, browsers, voice assistants, chatbots, smartwatches, etc. For enterprises, we offer translation API to integrate with their services.
I graduated from Belorussian State Technological University as a bachelor of software engineering in 2008 and right now have about 15 years of experience in IT as a programmer, manager, and marketing specialist.
What motivated you to get started with your company?
Aliaksei Rudak: I think it’s personal ambitions and desire to prove that it’s possible to create a big company with top products starting from zero. When I was able to earn $1M being alone with very simple MVP and no marketing, I thought that could reach $1B with a good team and product.
How have you attracted users and grown your company from the start?
Aliaksei Rudak: It’s an unusual story. To find a market niche, I made several hundreds of simple apps to test different ideas (games, fitness, utilities, etc.) and check the competition in every exciting area. Using AppStore search optimization, I was able to get 20 million of translation applications downloads, spending only my free time. Thus I found that translator apps have potential and invested money to create quality products.
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue? What strategy worked best?
Aliaksei Rudak: For B2C, we have translation applications with paid subscriptions to activate some cool features like offline work, file translation, or translating phone calls.
I have a lot of experience in mobile marketing, so the user acquisition cost was almost zero. The first monetization strategy was with integrated ads with in-app purchases and then subscriptions. Monetization with subscriptions worked best, but with ads, I was able to earn more than $1M in revenue.
In case of solutions for B2B, we are launching now and looking for companies that can test our translation API for free.
How much money (funding) have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round? (Additionally, any plan for the future?)
Aliaksei Rudak: There were no outer investments so far. I spent my own $600K on a project that was earned on MVP tests. It looks strange but true. I have a deep understanding of the translation market, so it’s no problem for me.
I opened to investment offers, but an investor should understand how translation market works. It will save a lot of time for negotiations.
What are some marketing tips to help maximize the success of a product launch?
Aliaksei Rudak: Make the launch of your product as a success story with the roadmap of problems you solved. Every founder has lots of’ interesting things to tell, and that information will be valuable to your potential customers. Make a corporate blog or something.
What is a good product launch checklist?
- Find a good team with marketing guru and 2-3 co-founders. You should be social.
- Select any big market, no matter how many competitors on them. It’s always possible to succeed in it because of better service or any small improvements.
- Make some kind of product with some small better features and set up analytics.
- Analyze how your customers behave to get points for growth. You will always find them if you have a marketing guru on the team) Develop unit economy of the product. For every 1$ invested, you should get 2$.
- Show this unit economy to any kind of investor and get money to scale.
- Scale you business
- Sell it and be happy
What’s the hardest thing about product launches?
Aliaksei Rudak: At product launch, you need to coordinate lots of people and tasks related to them. In most cases you will lost time, money, health with no effect for a long time. You will think it’s better to stop. If you believe in your idea, stay strong and go on your plan no matter what happens. Your team is watching you and behaves the same. Sometimes you need 1-2 small steps more to success, and you need energy not to stop before.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when they start a company? (or What should all first-time startup founders know before they start their business?)
They have no deep understanding of the market they are working in. Good knowledge of your niche will help to stay alive even if you make different mistakes in management. The best advice is to work several years before in similar businesses to get such experience and then to make something new there.
What do most startups get wrong about marketing?
Aliaksei Rudak: They just don’t understand how to do marketing because of no experience or have no skilled marketing specialist on the team. Technical people are trying to make sales and business development. This is not right. From my point of view, good marketing can make profits even ordinary product but a good product with bad marketing will earn almost zero. A good product with good marketing will be a unicorn.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And What advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
Aliaksei Rudak: The main idea is to have good networking to find the right people and make a skilled team. Goog team can do any complex product very fast. To have good networking, you should be famous in your professional community as a leader in some fields (programming, marketing, business, etc.) so people can trust you. Don’t be shy and talk about your ideas everywhere. Be social. This is the best advice.
What are the one or two things that you would do differently if you could go back to 10 years ago?
Aliaksei Rudak: To make your translator and compete, Google is not an easy task. Because nobody believes in my idea, I hired a outsource company and freelancers to do programming tasks. I was the only one founder and tried to do all management by myself. It’s not a good idea, but there was no choice.
I should have co-founders and partners to delegate tasks to several people. It can save time and health in the future. No remote work. Only work in an office with your team.
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