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Meet Carolina Bongers: Founder of Jungle the Bungle, the animated language app for young children !

Hi Carolina. FEM-START is happy to be speaking with you today. Tell us, What inspired you to start your own business? And why this business, what drives you?    

It was always my dream to start a business of my own. I just love brands, I worked for big companies like L’Oréal and Walt Disney. The real turning point to actually start my own business was when my kids were born and I wanted to teach them proper spanish (my mother is spanish and I was raised bilingual). I realized then, there were no fun ways to teach really young children a new language. Their brains are superactive when they are young, they absorb and learn faster. I knew I wanted to fill that gap with Jungle the Bungle.

What are some of the most essential things you did to get your business off the ground?    

I have built the business steadily. I started end of 2015 to develop the concept, the characters and the animated world of Jungle the Bungle. I validated each step before I started to look for funding. I first launched two multilingual books, to see if children liked the animated characters and observe how parents reacted to language learning with young children. Within the first year I sold more than 2.000 copies of the books, so I knew there was a big potential to exploit. That’s when I started looking for a business partner and I found a great person: Amber Stam. We developed the concept of the app further, went over the funding required for the app, and finalised our product!

How did you build your customer base and grow your business?

We are very careful in validating every step of the app. So we made sure the children liked the animated animals and features from Jungle the Bungle, the parents were open to teach new languages to their (very) young children, the way we teach languages was worthwhile; and the parents were willing to pay for a fun and easy learning app for young children! So we remain close to our consumers and ambassadors, and see how they feel about the app developments. Besides that, we engage our followers by keeping them up to date. They can decide for themselves if they want to buy our products. We don’t want ‘buyers’, we want fans. 

What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way, and what did you learn from them?              

I believe when I was out of focus and doing everything at the same time was a hard lesson. Writing new books, visiting bookstores to distribute the books, going to fairs, visiting schools with no clear plan of what came next. I learned to stand still and really be picky with the next step, which was the digital development of the brand. I really had to learn to let go of certain opportunities, that is if they didn’t contribute to the digital development of the brand.

What is your biggest achievement since founding the company, and how did you get there?                          

One of my proudest achievement so far is receiving the funds with our crowdfunding campaign. We found over 100 believers who invested in our app and are part of the Jungle the Bungle family now. Since we have realised this funding, I am sure Jungle the Bungle will be a big success. Another achievement is the actual building of the app. It took us a year and a half to build the app. We did it with a great team and the end result is amazing. From February on, a lot of children will have fun with this great app and parents can be proud of them for learning a new language so easily.

What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own business?    

If you have a good idea, talk about it with people who are not in your circle. Don’t ask your friends, most of them will probably hold back. If you find a target audience who would buy your product or service, just go for it. Try to have different plan B’s just in case plan A does not work.

If you would like to know more about Carolina’s company Jungle the Bungle, click here!


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