Startup Spotlight #174: BoldVoice
BoldVoice is a speech and accent coaching app that helps non-native English speakers be as well-understood and confident in English as in their native language.
Latest F2F Case Study -
Lakra is the Co-Founder and CEO of BoldVoice, a speech coaching app that helps immigrants speak English clearly and confidently. As an immigrant herself, she is passionate about leveling the playing field for non-native English speakers to help them thrive professionally. Prior to co-founding BoldVoice, Lakra built a career in tech and product at Peloton, McKinsey, and high-growth startups. She is a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum and graduate of Y Combinator. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Yale University.
Enter Your Email Below To Receive Startup Spotlights In Your Inbox Once Per Week:
Startup Spotlight: BoldVoice
Problem: Accented English speakers are 16% less likely to get hired and 23% less likely to get funded (Wharton research). While of utmost importance for professional success, pronunciation and accent are specialized skills that are nearly impossible to acquire through traditional language learning (Economist article).
Market: There are over 1.5 billion non-native English speakers globally (~4x than native English speakers!) BoldVoice is targeting the over 20 million professional immigrants in the US and over 500 million non-native speakers globally who work in English-first jobs.
Solution: BoldVoice helps non-native speakers speak English clearly and confidently so they can advance their careers. The app offers them bite-sized, personalized video lessons from expert accent coaches and instant pronunciation feedback from speech AI.
Team: BoldVoice was founded by Anada Lakra and Ilya Usorov, both startup veterans and immigrants. The team also includes top accent coaches with backgrounds including Hollywood and Broadway.
Lakra: What we’ve done best is identifying a huge problem “hidden in plain sight” that our users immediately understand and resonate with. Building upon this key insight, we’ve dedicated ourselves to creating a product that actually delivers on its promise. We’re obsessed with talking to our users to learn what’s working for them. We take this feedback and input it directly into our product process, turning it to reality thanks to our dedicated engineering team and expert coaches.
Lakra: While we’ve already found a lot of product love in the market, we’re still in the process of building the scalable drivers of growth that will put our app in the hands of millions of users. With iOS privacy changes and paid channels getting increasingly expensive, it’s clear that consumer startups like us need creative and organic channels to scale successfully. For me personally, this is a bit of a challenge because I’m more of a product person by nature. However, nailing our distribution and top-of-funnel strategy is of primary importance at this stage, so I’ve been able to quickly ramp up there thanks to the help of other founders (we’re also hiring for a Marketing Lead role!)
Lakra: Just do it. Analysis paralysis is real, but you will never know how things will work out until you try them. Adopt an experimentation mindset and run as many experiments as possible, readjusting your approach after each one.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help: chances are, most of the problems that are keeping you up at night are also things that other founders have had to tackle before. Reach out, ask for how they solved something you’re struggling with, and then pay it forward.
Three Cool Founders You Should Know About:
Lakra: Here are three founders you should check out next!
Who should I profile next? Leave your suggestion in the comments:
Why you should become a paid subscriber to Founder to Founder:
Get connected to elite tech entrepreneurs through in-depth Founder Case Studies
Receive exclusive documents crafted by top founders on how to build your company
Access a growing audience of venture capitalists, product managers, software engineers, and people passionate about technology
Hear real, raw experiences from entrepreneurs that you won’t see anywhere else
Previous F2F Case Studies:
Previous Startup Spotlights:
Startup Spotlight #173: Mandla: Mandla is an innovative, black-owned e-learning language app created for those who seek to strengthen their unbreakable connection with their African roots.
Startup Spotlight #172: Maeve - Maeve is an elegant online platform offering titillating audio only to nourish women's sensuality.
Startup Spotlight #171: Virtual Sapiens - Virtual Sapiens is a machine learning SaaS platform to help client-facing professionals master communication skills over video.
Startup Spotlight #170: Kaedim - Kaedim gives everyone the power to create great 3D content.
Startup Spotlight #169: Zwapp - Zwapp was founded with a mission to connect millions of Latin Americans to new economic opportunities.
Startup Spotlight #168: Promoted.ai - Promoted (YC W21) unifies organic search, promotions, and ads in one optimized system for marketplaces.