Marina Tognetti

Marina Tognetti

A Pioneering Entrepreneur Giving Voice to Every Language

Entrepreneurship is a challenging journey that traverses diversified routes now and then. As a coin has two sides and when tossed and turned, it reveals one of either side, which is completely unpredictable, the same comes with entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is a Game of Calculated Risk and every outcome is volatile.

A zeal for entrepreneurship has made this woman step her best foot forward in this enthralling ride. Marina Tognetti, the Founder of mYngle is a tech entrepreneur, who understood the need of the hour and decided to launch her start-up. mYngle is an online platform, which teaches professionals and international businesses 45 different languages, anytime, anywhere with training programs personalized to the needs of each learner.

Initially, Marina built a successful career by large multinationals like Procter & Gamble, Philips, Sara Lee, The Boston Consulting Group and eBay, while living and working in different countries. She has pursued an MBA from INSEAD and it was gradually in her career, that her passion for entrepreneurs started to rise.

While working as a consultant on a project of internet strategy, she experienced the potential of the internet and decided to be part of it. It gave her a kick-start to be a mastermind of an innovative company as mYngle, which could make a real difference.

A Take on Been the Founder and CEO

Living in modern times with such fast and dynamic transformations, the roles of Founder and CEO go hand in hand. “The characteristics of a good CEO are similar to those of a founder entrepreneur, who has to be able not only to adapt but also to ride the positive trends”, quotes Marina.

As a founder, Marina’s vision to achieve her goals and set the initial direction in the new business was fierce. Today, as the CEO of a leading company, she still follows with the same mantra to anticipate and navigate challenges faced daily. Also, she believes that employees are the biggest assets for a company and hence her team should form a group of entrepreneurs fostering a culture of experimentation. This, in turn, helps her build an organization that is agile by taking calculated risks and adapting with the change to run a successful business.

A Look at the Journey

Previously working in the corporate world, Marina was not prepared with the role of an entrepreneur, however, it taught her excellent tools which helped her drive the company through its different phases. Initially, she handled and managed large companies and this gave her the confidence for running her start-up, but that was not the case.

She had to learn many things with each passing day and understand the quote that “entrepreneurship is jumping from a cliff and assembling a plane on the way down,'' termed by Reid Hoffman, Co-founder LinkedIn. Marina agrees to this, the journey of an entrepreneur is full of crests and troughs; it is the harsh lines of realities, that teach one to deal with uncertainty and change that makes one stand-out amongst all. “It was the combination of the newly acquired entrepreneurship mind-set and the past corporate experience that helped me in managing the phases of transition and growth,'' concludes Marina.

Achievements to Cherish

To build a business from scratch is challenging, especially a tech start-up which competes with a powerful traditional industry like education. It was complex and starting it a decade ago was naïve and tough. There were all sorts of resistances those of a still-developing market, the stereotypical phenomenon consumers had in their minds, and the conservative opinions of customers. Fast-forward in recent times, online language education is creating benchmarks in terms of quality and flexibility and mYngle is a major part of it. For Marina, the revolution that her organization has set is her greatest professional achievement.

Also, over the years mYngle has added feathers to its cap by winning numerous awards and recognitions for its contribution to online education. Here are a few of the names, Accenture Innovation Award, European Ventures Summit Award, Benelux Venture Summit Award, and many more. For her excellent performance and sheer hard-work, Marina has also received numerous awards as a Founder and CEO of mYngle, like as 50 most inspiring women tech leaders in Europe, 50 most inspiring women in the Dutch technology sector, Iconic Women Creating a Better World for All and many others.

Transforming Setbacks to Breakthroughs

Each day is a new challenge and by tackling it, a new lesson is learned. Marina’s major challenge was when she had to “pivot” from the initial business model to a completely new and different one. That is what mYngle stands for today, which changed a lot from the initial company that was launched- a marketplace – which leveraged Marina’s experience with eBay.

The organization had its own back with effective funding, a highly talented and motivated team, and many awards and PR. However, this wasn’t enough and it faced a hiatus as their business model didn’t function as expected. In order to find a prompt solution to this, the organization had its ears pouring with customer’s feedback and reviews, which gave them the much-needed new direction to head forward. Turning their open marketplace to a quality global online school, from B2C to B2B was the key success for mYngle. “We now have prestigious business clients and learners all over the world, with tens of thousands of lessons given each month,'' adds Marina.

Celebrating a Customer-Centric Approach

The definition of success differs for every person and organization and for Marina achieving the highest customer satisfaction is to have a successful business, which ultimately drives business growth and long term success. The organization embraces a passion for its customers and values its fulfillment foremost. One of its key strengths lies in ultimate customer satisfaction, regular focus on customer’s needs, and this is achieved by constantly listening to the users’ feedback and improving accordingly. Also with time, leveraging new technologies is an advantage that is reflected in its internal evaluation systems and how the company assesses its job.

“We constantly monitor our users’ reactions and try to adjust accordingly, using adapted versions of NPS (Net Promoter Score), which defines that only excellence counts. Our average lessons’ scores are 4.9/5.0. Results speak for themselves!”

Talking about competition, Marina strongly believes that the key to success is not constantly comparing with competition, but aligning with what customers want. This plays an important role especially for an online platform/ business, where the primary goal is to achieve the customer’s trust and build a relationship at an early stage itself.

As the proverb reads, “One size does not fit all”, this exactly needs to be understood. Every customer/ student is different and delivering customized solutions, which are best suitable for them is an ideal choice.

Technology – A Momentous Stride

Technology is a beacon opening the doors of opportunity and chasing new directions on the go. Every industry has seen impeccable growth with the advent of technology and hence decides to elevate and keep up with the existing picture.

“I am a business person, so I do not need to be an expert in its implementation, but I must keep informed about the new developments and understand its implication for business: how it impacts a company, the customers, and the value chain,'' says Marina. Data analysis and machine learning are experiencing major advancements, algorithms are getting better, products are becoming more accessible, knowledge about best practices are being shared and collaborated at a very fast pace as technology continues to pave its way ahead.

Moving Forward from Here

Marina’s approach to living is constantly evolving and improving and she believes it is in the nature of an entrepreneur to always seek new opportunities or areas of development. The future in leading mYngle holds new challenges as innovation is at its peak and being ahead of the market is the game.

To lead is to make a difference, the quote best describes Marina’s vision for the future, “For me, it will also be time for the idealistic voice inside to speak, the voice that believes in giving something back for a better world. I walked this path and learned a lot. That brought me in a privileged position, where I can act and implement new ideas that can make a difference. I can now use my skills to make the world just a little bit better.”