The man who couldn’t learn languages: The story of WordDive

WordDive was born when the company founder and CEO Timo-Pekka Leinonen got fed up with his language studies that just wouldn't progress. Today the WordDive language learning application is used in more than 150 countries.

WordDive language learning app
 
Timo-Pekka Leinonen

Timo-Pekka Leinonen
Founder and CEO of WordDive

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Timo-Pekka worked for Nokia, where he was globally responsible for a network management system with a turnover of over 400 million euros. He is a Licenciate of Science (Technology) and an economist and has studied English, Spanish, Japanese, French, Swedish, German and Russian at the university level.

WordDive was born when the company founder and CEO Timo-Pekka Leinonen got fed up with his language studies that just wouldn't progress.

”The problem was that no matter how much I studied, I got stuck even in the simplest practical situations," Leinonen says.

When all else had failed, it was time to go ask his language teacher mother for help. Together with his mother, Leinonen took his learning process apart, drafted a schematic of the pieces and realised he hadn't been studying in a way that was right for him. The pace of learning new things and repeating old things had been wrong. Leinonen decided to combine his software know-how and his mother's language teaching experience and started programming the first WordDive prototype.

Today, Timo-Pekka Leinonen’s learning innovation has developed into a unique iOS, Android and desktop application that is being used in over 150 countries.

“What motivates me as an entrepreneur and CEO of WordDive is the fantastic customer feedback that we get. We have many customers who have been struggling with their language studies for years. When they discover WordDive and start getting results, they become so happy! They realise that they really can learn to speak another language even if they thought it was impossible,” Leinonen says.

Thanks to the artificial intelligence, the pace of learning and the exercising of study items can be optimised individually for each user. In addition, WordDive is based on the use of multiple senses, which is the most efficient way to learn a new language.

”Finland has been an excellent place for developing WordDive because of the evident need for language skills and high quality teaching. Also, the high school final exams are held twice a year, which has enabled us to develop our flagship product, the prep course, at a rapid pace. Now the product is ready and it's time to scale up fast. Our main goal for 2017 is to achieve a significant position on the German market. The next target is to obtain a clear market leadership in the German prep course market. Our growth is aided by a method that's unique on a global scale, Samu Haber as our brand ambassador and international app stores where anyone can download our app," Leinonen says.

At the moment 25 % of Finnish high school seniors use WordDive, and 98 % of them recommend the course. For a product that was launched just two years ago, these are pretty impressive numbers. “I am honestly taken aback by the results and the amazing recommendation rate of the prep course, and how quickly we achieved it. I have an amazing team filled with talented professionals. When we work together, beautiful things are born. Sometimes even I am surprised at the great things we can create together” Leinonen laughs.

Timo-Pekka Leinonen describes himself as a leader with courage and a sense of direction. “I want everyone at the company to understand the vision and to look in the same direction. This creates clarity and focus, which in turn leads to great results. As a manager, it is my job to make sure that my employees have the opportunity and the conditions to succeed”, he says.

WordDive's equity offering reached €470,000 during the hidden phase of its campaign and oversubscription two days after its public launch. The maximum target has been upped to €1.2m. See WordDive's pitch for the current situation.