The Startup that Teaches English in Cafeterias

January 2018

The Startup that Teaches English in Cafeterias

Learning English in a cafeteria has been more effective than traditional classroom classes or online courses, as demonstrated by Poliglota, a Chilean startup that has begun their operations in Mexico, using experienced teachers and small groups of students.

Founded by José Manuel Sánchez, Carlos Aravena, and Nicolás Fuenzalida, the company has developed through an idea which came to realization when the three entrepreneurs could not hold a conversation in English after completing their 3-4 year degrees at university. Starting with a small group of people, meeting in bars to have an English conversation, it soon grew to a community with over 100,000 people in several countries.

By 2012, they were active in 35 countries with groups up to 100 people practicing English in bars. Unfortunately, the community was structured with volunteers that were not teachers, what led them to test different models of creating a more effective teaching, and of course to make a self-financing business model. With two rounds of capital raising and three years of work the current teaching model was consolidated.

In 2015, people were not meeting in bars anymore, but in cafeterias that are still public places, but much more quiet. Additionally, the volunteers were replaced with experienced teachers and the groups were no longer giant, but small and effective. That is when Políglota was born: the English classes in small groups, with expert teachers and in unexpected places, such as cafeterias.

Currently, this startup is serving around seven thousand people in Chile, Peru and Mexico. Its teaching system is based on the common European framework of reference for languages, which is the international standard. It defines the linguistic competence throughout the world from the most basic to the highest level.

You can find the complete article in Spanish at this address.

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