Livemocha recently named Michael Schutzler as new CEO of the company with Co-Founder Shirish Nadkarni changing to the role of chairman and Chief Strategy Officer.
And Schutzler does not waste time as it seems.
In one of the first interviews as CEO Schutzler said the company plans to extend their services to mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. With the last funding of $8 million USD in the war chest this should be only a matter of time. And he already is pinging his personal network. For example Kevin Foreman, the CEO of Point Inside a mobile phone application company.
And there is another gem he left for us on Twitter. Livemocha seems to get 60% of its traffic from Latin America.
So, who is Michael Schutzler? He was the CEO of Classmates.com and turned the tiny startup into a profitable company which was then sold to United Online fo $150 million in 2004. He served also as Senior Vice President at RealNetworks, a casual games business, and Monster.com.
Besides that Schutzler founded his own company CEOsherpa, as business coaching firm and he is in several boards of different companies. So to sum this up: he seems to have some experience under his belt :).
In the past months Babbel was able to take a technological lead in the race with the launch of their iPhone apps and now with the launch of the speech recognition tool. hello-hello as a new competitor was able to attract eyeballs and market share by offering the first native iPad application to learn languages. Livemocha did concentrate more on the expansion of its premium courses with Collins but according to the interviews and press releases it seems that the mobile component will start playing a bigger role now.
Schutzler says in an interview with Xconomy that
The biggest challenge in the near term is brilliantly serving the 6 million members we have. The biggest challenge in the coming years is reaching language learners on many different platforms—not just the website, but on the iPhone, Droid, at coffee shops. Everywhere.
Another very interesting aspect comes up when Schutzler is talking about the takeaways in his previous positions and what he will apply to Livemocha. At RealNetworks they started with the assumption that the young American white man would be the perfect customer for their products but it came out that in fact it was the middle aged woman from every country was the best customer. Hence
Finding our “best” customer at Livemocha and giving them a fantastic, immersive experience will be an exciting challenge.
Really looking forward to this “new era” of Livemocha and to Schutzler’s tweets :). You can follow him, too @CEOsherpa.