Pop Quiz, Monday with Beth Lawrence, CEO & Co-Founder at InferCabulary

Photo credit: Beth Lawrence
The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?

Beth Lawrence

What is your job role?

CEO, Co-Founder; Speech-Language Pathologist

Tell us about your company?

InferCabulary is a K-12 literacy edtech company. We discovered a method for students to use critical thinking in the visual domain to infer the deep meanings of words by analyzing the common thread among six pictures of the concept in a variety of contexts. This improves vocabulary, critical thinking, reading comprehension, and written language without students relying on the ineffective, age-old method of rote memorizing definitions they often don’t understand.

What do you love most about your job?

Knowing that we are impacting the lives of millions of students and making teachers’ jobs easier.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?

We have received so much encouragement from leading experts in our field; from students who love using InferCabulary; from teachers who say for the first time their students are truly connecting with words in literature — those are the things that make the “grind stuff” worth it. We wake up excited to see what the day will bring!

How do your co-workers inspire you?

Deena Seifert, COO, and co-founder of InferCabulary, is such a rock. She is calm in whatever storm comes our way. She’s smart, handles all the details, and keeps our company afloat. Our tech team is the best! They are creative, responsive, and designed such a fantastic platform for our concept to shine. Our advisors and mentors, like Frank Bonsal III, Andy Morrison, and Phyllis Hillwig are forever encouraging and teaching us.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?

Deena and I are great business partners who communicate well and are still friends through this wild journey of co-founding and scaling a start-up. We enjoy the road trips/travel involved in presenting and exhibiting at national conferences. Since we do much of our work via teleconferences, these are some of our most fun times to connect in person. We send one another words of encouragement and have the occasional meal out. We host bi-monthly team get-togethers with lots of great food!

What are some of the challenges of your job?

All the “hat switching” required as CEO of a start-up. We are thought leaders in language and literacy, but had no background or experience in growing a business. I would have to say the Financials have been the biggest challenge. We are also in a tough space, with long sales cycles in education.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?

Communicating expectations sure saves time!

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?

Bootstrap as long as possible. Make sure your idea REALLY solves a genuine need and is exciting and effective. Iterate early on with people who try your product (and make sure these are not people you know.) If you are getting into EdTech, make sure you have educators on your team! Get independent research. Share and learn from others in your space. Help others.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web: