Interview with Lingospot: 3+1 Lessons for startups and the road ahead

So here is the interview with Nikos Iatropoulos, the CEO of Lingospot. The objective of the interview was twofold:
1-to learn more about the past and the future of this dynamic new company;
2-to extract some key learnings in order to help aspiring entrepreneurs.

In their own words (from the website) “Lingospot is an in-text content discovery service enabling authors to increase reader engagement and dynamically interlink their content.” It appears that the company is growing fast and has achieved some major milestones. We are wishing them good luck with their next steps.

Here it goes:

outoftheborders: What is Lingospot? How does the service work?

Nikos Iatropoulos:
Lingospot is an in-text content discovery service. We believe that consumers are undergoing a shift in the way they find content online. They are moving away from actively searching for such information to “discovering” it.

Our vision is to dynamically interconnect the web through streams of such contextual content discoveries facilitated by our technology. The Lingospot technology consists of proprietary natural language processing and search algorithms that “understand” what a page is about, identify the most important elements of the page, and find relevant content from across the site and the web.
Such content can include links to related articles that the reader can navigate to as well as content that can be consumed within the Lingospot bubble, such as Wikipedia definitions, photos, videos, etc.

Outoftheborders: Who is this service for?

Nikos Iatropoulos:
Lingospot offers solutions for various types of authors, large publishers or bloggers. Eitherway, the benefits are great as Lingospot can increase the number of page views and the time spent on the website, also improving reader utility and engagement.

Can you please describe the key milestones that you have achieved so far? What are the learnings that you have personally acquired as an entrepreneur from this journey?

Nikos Iatropoulos:
It’s been a very exciting journey. Here is what we have achieved so far:

1-Launch of our product in Beta – seeing our service run on a live website!
2-Incorporating, raising our first capital and moving into offices – being a real company!
3-Hiring our first 3 employees, who along with the 2 founders completed the founding team (CEO, CTO, SVP Sales, 2 Engineers)
4-Launching our commercial version and signing up our first major publisher (Forbes)

There is a lot of new learning, and some important lessons:

1-The first five people of a company determine its success or failure
2- You never know what features will work in a product until you test them in the market
3- The most important attribute of a small entrepreneurial company is the ability to quickly react to the marketplace and change its direction overnight.

Outoftheborders: Niko, this is not the first time that you start a company. Is it different now compared to the past and in what way?

Nikos Iatropoulos:
Having started a software company back in 2000, things now seem a lot easier today. Software development tools and hardware is much cheaper. Open source has reached a point where it is better or as good as commercial software. Servers, bandwidth and collocation costs are also much cheaper. Compared to 2000, I would estimate that you can start an internet service company for about 1/5th of the cost. This allows a team to complete product development and roll out a product with very little cost, without the need of external financing. This is good news. The bad news, is that it’s become easy for everyone, so competition is more intense.

Outoftheborders: What are the next steps for Lingospot?

Nikos Iatropoulos:
Now that our products are in the market, our next step is to grow our presence in both the large publisher world and the blogosphere. This will require growing our team, opening sales offices in New York, London and Beijing and investing in infrastructure. To do so, the company is currently looking for a round of Series A financing that will enable it to make these investments in growth.