“I was making great money, had a nice boss, and secure future,” says Carlos Seoane. “…it’s completely and utterly irrational.”
After 16 with Thomson Reuters, the VP is done with it, and instead he’s going against the grain by becoming a tech entrepreneur in Minnesota.
Extempore is his freedom medium, an app co-created with wife Susana Pérez-Castillejo and CTO Stephen Fluin to help language instructors with speaking practice for students without having to schedule 1:1 time.
Simple language assignments are recorded in audio, video, or text by the teacher and shared asynchronously with all students at once via iOS, Android, and web interface. It’s language agnostic with about a dozen unique ones represented so far.
“The problem that they all face, is that they can’t scale their conversations in a traditional classroom environment,” he says, pointing to his wife who is a linguistics professor, cofounder, and chief validator.
The product was launched in the spring of 2016 and by that summer, had acquired a first paying customer. One year later, Extempore has some real traction with 39 paid schools using the app now, 5000+ students registered and they’re about to see the 50,000th submitted answer on the platform.
“We are getting a crazy response rate from our outbound marketing plan, so much that we don’t have the bandwidth to followup.”
To get to this point in time wasn’t easy for the team. While most American’s don’t save money, or even if they do, it’s usually for a vacation or a some material thing — Seoane says he socked away what they could every month into an ‘entrepreneurial fund’ to set the stage for today.
“I’m all in,” he says with a certainty, “I quit last week on my 40th birthday, I’ve always wanted to own my business and have oriented my life around this for a while going into it. I imagine it’s kinda like being drunk, this might not last forever, but so far it feels amazing.”
Extempore recently became semi-finalists at the Minnesota Cup High Tech Division, something Seoane humbly describes as “an omen”.
The future is promising for Extempore, as they’re currently working on a distribution deal with a local, large education technology reseller with national reach.
“Instead of helping 500 students at a time, why not help 5,000?” he wonders.