Mango Languages Leaps Forward on Inc. Fastest Growing Companies List
The Farmington Hills-based developer of language-learning software jumps nearly 260 places on the annual list.
The expansion of Farmington Hills-based Mango Languages over the past three years is nothing short of amazing.
A 1,310 percent growth rate catapulted the five-year-old company, which develops language-learning software and applications for iPad, iPod and iPhone, upward on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation's fastest growing firms – from #534 in 2011 to #275 this year.
That's 19 spots of ahead of Facebook, a social networking website with more than 955 million active users.
"Does it say a lot? I don't know," company CEO Jason Teshuba said. "People in business recognize it as a big accomplishment. In reality, I don't think a lot about it until people ask ... We're trying to create new products."
The 1994 West Bloomfield High graduate said the secret to the company's growth lies in one word: focus. Mango Languages serves government and other sectors; the company also offers its software to consumers. But one area has gotten more attention over the past year.
"Our biggest market is the public library space," he said. "We focused. We did all of our development to serve that market."
Once a library system adopts the Mango Languages suite, it is available to all library patrons, who can log in through their library website or by downloading the application. It is not available yet through the Farmington Community Library or the West Bloomfield Township Library, Teshuba said.
More than vocabulary
Lessons include recordings of native language speakers, along with grammar and culture notes. A lesson in Japanese of an English speaker, for instance, starts by listening to a sentence, then learning each of the words in the sentence and recognizing the difference in sentence structure. Users learn at their own pace, with reinforcement that makes the lessons easier to remember.
"You learn not only about the language, but the ways and customs and thinking of the people who speak the language," Teshuba said.
That's the way he was first exposed to languages other than English. Teshuba said the love of languages is "kind of in my cells, in my bones". He grew up with Korean friends and remembers being fascinated by listening to the language their grandparents spoke. He studied Hebrew, and his father spoke that language, along with Arabic, Italian and English.
"We are unique in the fact that most Americans don't know another language, because we don't have to," Teshuba said. In Europe, traveling across country means moving through a number of different language regions. "If they spoke a different language in Illinois or Ohio, we'd all speak those languages."
He does see more interest among parents who want to enroll their children in a language course, and he encourages them to look at more than one course.
"Any second language helps to learn a third language, which helps you learn a fourth language," he said.
Learn more and try a demo lesson at mangolanguages.com.