PE Accelerator Week 5: Erin Janklow of Entrada ESL
Entrada ESL is one of five companies participating in Project Entrepreneur’s five-week accelerator program at Rent the Runway Headquarters in New York City. Over the course of the #PEAccelerator, the founders will visit local tech companies, meet with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, and connect with experts at Rent the Runway and UBS to gain insight and advice on topics critical to building and scaling a high-growth company.
For each of the five weeks of the #PEAccelerator, one of the five female founders incubating at Rent the Runway Headquarters will give the PE Community a sneak peek behind the scenes of the accelerator and share favorite moments, lessons learned, and key takeaways from the accelerator that week. For more from our #PEAcceleratorClass, be sure to follow Project Entrepreneur on Instagram (@pjtentrepreneur) to catch the founders’ Instagram Takeovers during the accelerator.
Erin Janklow is Founder and CEO of Entrada ESL, which uses technology to teach hospitality staff conversational English while they work. In this blog post, Erin shares favorite moments, lessons learned and key takeaways from Week 5 of the 2018 PE Accelerator. She also shares her experience incubating at Rent the Runway headquarters and how learning more about Rent the Runway has inspired her as she works to scale Entrada.
“This week was full of incredible experiences, all moving at the pace of a proverbial New York Minute. Monday kicked off with a full day of learning, workshops, and advice from the UBS team. We had the experience of running two different focus groups; it was exhilarating to receive expert feedback and guidance from a team whose only objective is to help you succeed.”
“One of my favorite moments was hearing how our sales pitch was received by individuals with no [prior] experience in language programs. The team helped identify moments they felt confused, which helped me identify opportunities to clarify how Entrada presents our information.”
“For example, our 70% Learner Engagement Rate was met with confusion, and the team prompted me to clarify what exactly the rate was. Getting straight to the point: 70% of learners who begin Entrada’s program on Day 1 will still be engaged and excited to learn from our tools on Day 100. When you compare this to the industry average of 15%, we know that we are creating something extraordinary, and [now I] also know this needs to be communicated in a way that is more accessible to non-industry experts. I’m thrilled to have received the feedback that this crucial differentiator could be presented in a way that gives it more impact.”
“I really enjoyed facilitating my second focus group at UBS. I met with a team of Wealth Management Advisors and discussed the Entrada strategy from a macro level.—it was motivating to see their enthusiasm for what we’re building with Entrada ESL.They asked thoughtful questions, shared incredible insights, and offered to connect me to other folks in the space who can propel Entrada forward more quickly and more strategically. We also pitched our companies that night and networked with the audience, which included a wider UBS team as well as UBS clients.”
“Later in the week we toured Refinery29 and chatted candidly with their incredible CFO, Melanie Goldey. We also toured Jet and caught the end of the Croatia/England match from their beautiful shared viewing area. We also participated in really fun workshops led by the Rent the Runway team on Branding and ‘CEO Style.’ Any one of these sessions or tours could have set me up for weeks of ideating and iterating: and that only covers Monday through Wednesday!”
“At times while creating this business, it feels like the days are long and progress should be faster. My team and I are working so hard to bring this vision into reality, and we all simply want to see it come to fruition!! After many long days, it can feel like you’re trudging through mud instead of striding forward with confidence.”
“Building a business shares many parallel emotions to learning a language: You can imagine how the world could be, and simply want that version of reality to exist, as soon as possible! We’ve become accustomed to Instant Gratification — but in reality, working through the long stretches with your eye on the ultimate prize is what ultimately propels you forward and onward to the next level.”
“I needed to hear the reminder myself, and getting Jenny’s perspective assured me that the challenges I’m facing are a very normal part of running a company that is changing, evolving, and growing. And…having the chance to sit and chat about my company with someone I greatly admire was an incredible moment!”
Are you a female founder interested in joining our Accelerator Class next year? Sign up for the PE newsletter to be the first to know when applications for the Project Entrepreneur Venture Competition open this fall: http://projectentrepreneur.org/stay-in-touch/