Some time in 2015, a guy named Paul Custance came to see us with a great idea. Then a Sony Music employee, he had the fantastic brainwave to use Sony’s outstanding music catalogue to teach people how to speak different languages.

The challenge

Lirica had no funding, and it was not even Sony Music’s core business, but what if he could convince them to invest in this new venture? It was an ambitious proposition, and one we couldn’t really resist.

The language learning app market is crowded, and there are clear market leaders. In order to disrupt this space, we had to deliver on the promise to teach a language through the memorable, culturally relevant and engaging medium of music.  

The app had to deliver a compelling user experience that would entertain and support repeat usage for learners to develop their language skills. At the same time, it had to launch into the stores as a brand presence that could stand out and grow.

And before we could achieve any of this, we had to obtain buy in from Sony, and then from investors, to make Lirica happen.

The solution

We started with a series of workshops to define our core value proposition. Our challenge was to narrow down our features to target user jobs and pain-points that other products were not addressing: engagement and cultural relevance. 

We focused on the Spanish language for our MVP, and we partnered with the Cervantes Institute, the leading Spanish Language Teaching institution.

Through exhaustive research of the market and multiple conversations with users and teachers, we narrowed down a feature set that became a prototype developed in Unity, with Sony investment. This was our tool to learn and finetune the final product, and showcase to future investors.

We put the emphasis on fun, cultural relevance, and letting the music shine. We tested this extensively with Cervantes students, and created a backlog of changes and improvements for the MVP.

Results

We took stock of all the learning form our prototype and we produced an MVP from the ground up using React Native. Lirica was selected to take part into the Accelerator Academy to become an investment ready business, and we launched to the stores in September 2018, securing the 2nd round of funding in 2019. Lirica is continually updating with new songs, fine-tuning features and expanding into other languages.

We definitely wouldn't be where we are without Milo Creative. Within a few months of launch, Google featured it as one of the best apps of the year. The feedback that we get from users is that the functionality is fantastic and the design is crystal clear. That's definitely a tribute to their work. Milo Creative provides a huge amount of value.

Paul Custance, CEO. Read the full interview here.


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