|Jin Yu-ha, the CEO of Tella, provides native tutoring based on chat for those who want to enhance their English. Photo provided by Jin Yu-ha.|
|Tella is working on improving unemployment problems in Uganda by recruiting skilled Ugandan tutors. Photo provided by Jin Yu-ha.|
Many English learning beginners are afraid of conversing with native speakers face-to-face. Jin Yu-ha, the CEO of Tella, wanted to ease their burden, using the help of technology.
Tella is a company that combines human-interactive service with data analytics technology; they use a chatting room platform, similar to Kakao Talk, to provide students with live chat lessons given by native English speakers. Students are also able to get instantaneous feedback.
Jin explained the efficiency of the online and interactive education system.
“Starters are often stressed by English phone or video calls because they have to respond immediately to their teacher, and they eventually quit learning English because of their lowered confidence,” Jin said. “However, the chat room platform alleviates the psychological pressure on students as they have enough time to process their answers. The visual aspect of an online chat also helps them remember what they have learned, because they can go back and read the text whenever and wherever they want.”
Interestingly, the company started as a mission to ameliorate unemployment in Uganda.
“I went to East Africa as a volunteer during college and worked with local churches to help those in need,” Jin said. “Unlike my expectations, many of the local people spoke good English, and some had bachelor degrees. However, despite their skills, 83 percent of the people in Uganda were unemployed. I began to think about how these people could be employed in the education industry and how we can make use of their talent in a valuable way.”
Jin started Tella with her co-founders in hopes to contribute to education. However, Jin recalled that the team was quite doubtful in the beginning.
“We were young, inexperienced, and not aware of how to bring in the workers and earn money,” Jin admitted. “However, my confidence was based on my experience as president of a social entrepreneur network club back in college. I built the whole curriculum by doing the research, developing the product, testing it out and selling it. Having the experience of building something from nothing really helped me run the company.”
In October of 2015, Tella hired three full-time employees and two part-time employees in Uganda. Now, there are 23 employees in Uganda and 15 in the Philippines.
Tella plans to head towards becoming a global education company that utilizes technology. It aims to launch the business to other countries within a year and wishes to improve both in quantity and quality. With her success story behind, she gave advice to students who wish to jump into startups.
“If you think you are going to regret by not doing what you truly want to do, just start right now,” Jin said. “You could always go back and start over because you are still young. If you really have passion and a detailed business plan in your mind, I recommend you to give it a try without hesitation.”
Jung Yu-kyung firstname.lastname@example.org