How our plan B became our plan A via faith, persistence and focus
Our storyline starts 4 years ago when we jumped on the startup bandwagon and got into an Estonian game-specific accelerator to conquer the world of language learning. The new context and the artificial confidence bubble of an accelerator boosted our creativity and suddenly we saw many opportunities ahead of us — each with tremendous potential. We felt we can do anything and everything and hence we named our newly founded company Plan B labs. Back then it seemed to be a great idea to have more small bets, to diversify our “portfolio”. In retrospect it was a terrible mistake.
Nomen est omen: In retrospect it was obviously a mistake (hello NLP) and perhaps delayed our tipping point of traction. Diversification is a legit strategy for investments, but not for ideas. Because ideas are nothing without execution and execution is ridiculously hard, so hard, undivided focus is necessary
When we returned to our homebase from Estonia, the hooray bubble bursted and we entered the through of sorrow and struggle and stayed there for another 3 years. Our product(s) were definitely not ready for a next venture round so we decided to continue bootstrapping to keep the dream alive. We decided not to accept compromises, choose one idea — the most potent — and bring it till the end: success or total failure.
All 4 of us found side gigs and some of us went full time to bring bacon to the table but we all remained dedicated to bring our own product on the market. It was obviously tough and two co-founders decided to leave the company for something else along the way. Two of us remained and after effortful years of finding the right angle to gain serious traction we finally discovered the recipe that brought Drops into orbit and enabled us to go full time.
We are now all-in, and there is only Plan A ahead of us. We are cashflow positive, no bounds to VC’s, we are a compact team of 2 building a product that is helping 1 million people to acquire the basics of 10 languages effortlessly, in a visual and surprisingly enjoyable way.
Did it worth it to sacrifice 4 years of our life to reach this point? Knowing the results, of course. Did we have doubts along the way? Thousand times. Could we reach this point faster? The answer is probably yes. We should’ve name our company Plan A back then and direct all our focus to a single product.
Fortunately we corrected our trajectory on the way, and paid the price with persistence. It was a good lesson that we will carry on forward: focusing on the most impactful thing is giving us the edge to take on the language learning juggernauts like Rosetta Stone, Duolingo and Babbel.
We are an independent small company with agility, full dedication. We learned how to fight until we reach what we want. We want to be the obvious first choice of language learners when it comes to vocabulary learning.
We reached quite far with my co-founder, Mark, but it’s an ambitious plan so we are are looking for dedicated craftsmen and craftswomen to join us and build a product that brings a truly unique product to the language learning space. Hard work, fun and a lovable company is guaranteed.
Co-founders of Drops