Meet… Lane Litz, CEO of Chatterize (SYD20)
Name: Lane Litz
Company: Chatterize — a supercharged English conversation app that accelerates spoken fluency by applying conversational AI to recreate an immersion learning environment.
HQ: New Zealand/China
What were you doing before Startmate?: Head of Education & Teacher Services / employee #6 at VIPKID, now one of the worlds most valuable edtech companies and the largest online teaching platform in the world.
How did involvement in Startmate alter your trajectory?: Startmate forced us to accelerate, as we set a very aggressive and ambitious goal for the program. We also learned quite a bit from mentors around retention, as China tends to be very acquisition focused. Startmate was helpful with fundraising, and we closed our seed round two months after the cohort ended.
If it weren’t for Startmate, what do you think you’d be doing?: The same thing I’m doing now- applying AI to accelerate the spoken element of second language acquisition. Just for someone else!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given and who gave it to you?:
- Increase your surface area for luck — Startmate/ Batko
- You can take responsibility for almost every problem the company faces if you have the right attitude — Cindy Mi (VIPKID CEO after I tried to lay blame for a problem on another part of the company)
- -Don’t let other people put their limitations on you — Cindy Mi
- Change the plan, but never the goal — what I tell myself every day in startup life!
What advice would you give someone about to go through Startmate?:
- Take the weekly emails seriously. There are a lot of investors hiding in the mentor pool.
- You get out what you put into the program.
- Be greedy and get the info you need from your mentors- that’s what they’re there for.
- Ask the hard questions- if it doesn’t hurt you’re probably not learning fast enough.
Tell us something about yourself we wouldn’t find on the internet?: I love junk food. Really missing American junk food right now. I only eat healthy food to avoid getting scurvy.
What is a daily habit you swear by?: I write a to-do list every. single. day. I find work stressful only when it’s disorganized. My team moves quickly and happily when I’m clear, concise and organized.
Favorite business books:
- SCRUM- The Art of Getting Things Done in Half the Time (great non-tech intro to agile)
- Zero to One
- Any and all books around the psychology of habit forming and how small, daily habits build a consistently satisfying life
- Headspace (because I respect the people around me enough to take the steps to be a consistently happy person)
- Anything YouTube yin yoga after a long day at the computer.
What is one problem begging to be solved by a Startmate company?: HR! Someone please make it easier to find and recruit great talent without the massive headhunter fees.
What is the best change that has occurred in the local startup ecosystem over the past five years?: The more investment that moves between Kiwi and Aussie borders, the better! Love watching this happen.