Go Big: A Globetrotting Entrepreneur's Launch (and Travel) Plans Changed by the 2020 Pandemic
The truth is, trivago couldn’t help everyone go someplace new in 2020. So instead, we’re celebrating the people that turned challenge into opportunity by starting new businesses, pursuits, and passions. When they couldn’t go far, they chose to go big.
One such person who rose to the occasion is Mila Semeshkina, the 30-year-old founder and CEO of Lectera, an online education platform. She and her team had been working around the clock to build it from scratch since late 2018, when a moment of personal clarity gave her the idea to offer people an alternative to traditional education and career training. The Lectera crew had set their sights on a March 2020 launch, but then, the global pandemic changed everything.
A Change of Plans
In a typical year, Mila says she travels to 40 or 50 countries, learning and doing business along the way, but that all changed when COVID-19 ground global travel to a halt.
With plans to launch Lectera in Russia in March 2020 and the US a month later, schedules and strategies were firmly in place and the team was looking forward to the big event. But, of course, by the time March arrived, so did a new reality.
Mila was stuck in Moscow and the brand’s approach to its operations around the world had to be revised as it became impossible to set up proper accounting structures for the platform to accept payment for its services. With three offices—one in Moscow, one in Dubai and one in Miami—the geographically divided team couldn’t travel to meet in person, even as all their launch plans went up in smoke and new ones had to be drawn up in thin air.
“We didn’t buy a ready-to-go solution. We built the platform by ourselves. We have a huge team of IT specialists, more than 70 people, who were working across seven countries. We have a lot of content makers, a lot of methodologists, a lot of language experts. We have more than 60 translators. So, the team is huge. We built a big infrastructure—we made it from scratch.”
After so much work had gone into building the brand to Mila’s precise specifications, rescheduling and revamping its launch wasn’t something to be taken lightly.
On the back end, the platform comprises thousands of pages of text, as well as accompanying videos and homework assignments, each available in all four languages. To date, Mila says, it’s the only platform of its kind to offer such breadth of translation and localization. Lectera is now available online at lectera.com/en and in the iOS and Android app stores, and has plans to open a fourth office, likely in Asia, in 2021.
Built from the ground up and forged in the fire, Mila’s company aims to help people enhance their lives and careers through learning, just like she did, so that even when the world stops, learning can carry on.
Inspired by Mila’s story? Keep an eye on our channels for other interviews in our Go Big series!