"My Boomalang experience has been extremely positive. I feel more
confident in my Spanish speaking abilities because of Boomalang.
I have more confidence when it comes to making mistakes."

   
- Duke University Student

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It's great to reconnect with all of you. For many, it's been awhile and we're overdue. Here's what has been going on since spring...
Justin Gifford, CTO: Justin was kind to volunteer his help for Boomalang beginning back in December 2014, and formally became our full-time CTO in June. Without his expertise and commitment to realizing the dream, we wouldn't still be here.
Pilot: We're 7 weeks into testing with partner Duke University and their "match," Universidad De Las Americas Puebla, in Mexico.
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After 50 Boomalang conversations:
  • 37 min. is the average length
  • 17 min. is the average length of competitor, WeSpeke
    (they ran a similar university experiment)
Minutes logged per conversation is our key performance indicator (KPI), so we're thrilled to see our matching, scheduling, and conversation guidance differentiators prevailing.

As one Duke student wrote, "At first, I was a little hesitant to talk to a complete stranger in a language I'm not comfortable with, but Boomalang helps you get over that really quick."
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Earlier this week, Justin and I visited Duke Professor Lisa Merschel's class for a feedback session from the actual users. She's excited to use Boomalang again in the spring semester and continues to be an amazing advocate for us. In addition to the in-person feedback, she gathered the below insights in a student survey. 

Survey Highlights:
  • 88% of students recommend using Boomalang in future classes
  • Most popular adjectives used to describe the conversation experience:
    "Interesting, rewarding, fun, helpful, challenging"
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Brand Building:  Professor Merschel was asked to speak at Duke's   Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) Showcase about using Boomalang. In this annual event celebrating innovation in Duke classrooms, Lisa presented how Boomalang has been used "to dissolve the classroom walls and provide students with the opportunity to speak with people living in different countries."
 
Additionally, we were asked to represent Vanderbilt in the SEC Symposium in Atlanta Sept. 21. Only one startup was invited from each SEC university, so we were honored to present Boomalang. It was also great to meet Vanderbilt's Chancellor Zeppos and network with other SEC alumni entrepreneurs.
 
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Current Focus: We're now selecting additional university partners for the spring 2016 semester. Vandy undergrad Sasha Pines, our newest intern, is assisting in the lead generation. I'll also attend the ACTFL Conference in San Diego next month.   If you have inroads to additional candidate universities, please let us know. We'd love introductions.


"Carlos is getting more confident and improving in the classroom. 
I have to confess he was hopeless but now he's on fire!"

- Professor RicaƱo, UDLAP (Mexico)
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Student Use Video: Here's a brief  how-to-use  narrated by Justin. Stick around to the end to see snippets from two of the first Duke Boomalang sessions! In our next newsletter, we aim to show more of a product demo sizzle reel.
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"Smart Scheduler": Until then, we're currently finalizing a major feature designed to automate scheduling users' Boomalang sessions. We believe this could serve as one of our strongest differentiators.
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Translation Opportunity:  At the Rice University Business Plan Competition, we were approached to consider document translation from an industry executive. Essentially, we will introduce website content for the students to collectively translate as a conversation activity.  We're continuing to prioritize the students' engagement, but will test the opportunity as it may improve student conversation as well as provide additional revenue if executed properly.

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"Boomalang is awesome. You're killing it."

- Duke University Student
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"Maravilloso"

- UDLAP Student
Capital Raise: In summer of 2016, Justin and I will pursue raising $500K from the investor community. By this point, we will have had two full semesters of Boomalang usage at the university level, providing us with enough data points and user feedback to show the product's effectiveness while directing us as we continue to improve the experience.
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Use of Funds: Investment will be used most significantly to: 
  • Sustain the founders to continue building the company
  • Hire two more talented software developers 
  • Fund additional business development 
This will provide us with 18 months to continue to build our differentiated brand as we compete in the larger language industry. 
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Investor Network: Now that we're in a position to seek investment this summer, we're excited to add to our angel network. Please don't hesitate to pass along names or introduce us to people you know who might be additional investors.
You're receiving this email because you continue to be an incredible source of help to us and Boomalang wouldn't be here without you all.

Thank you for your continued generosity and interest in making something special that is truly transforming language education!

Saludos, 
Chris Gerding
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