Race to Revenue '19: Meet the Racer | Mengyu Xu of Spell It

Author: Mengyu Xu

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I come from China and am a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in materials science here at the University of Notre Dame. Being in the United States, I am fortunate to easily meet native English speakers who can help me improve my speaking and writing. However, I realize that not all people have this luxury, which gave me the idea to create something that would connect English learners with native English speakers. This was my inspiration for starting Spell It—an English language consulting platform that creates this bridge between English learners and native speakers. Thanks to Race to Revenue, this idea could be turned into a practical plan. 

Before this summer, I was very engaged into the product development but spent very little time on the business part. When the website was done, I was so proud and shared the website with everyone I know. Sooner, I realized that none of those people I shared the website with would need a website to solve their language problems. I asked myself two questions: 1) “Who will use the website?” and 2) “How can I reach out to those people in need?”. Race to Revenue guided me to find the answers. 

The financial support given by Race to Revenue allowed me to pay professionals to build the website. Hence, I was able to spend more time on the business part. In addition to the financial support, the mentorship from both the Idea Center and the invited speakers helped me to think like an entrepreneur rather than a website developer. They encouraged me to dig into the market and understand what my customers really need. With their help, I had identified the target customers and developed marketing strategies. 

Also, I was greatly inspired by the other entrepreneurs I met through Race to Revenue. From the talks given by experienced company owners, I learned that a successful startup always makes people’s lives better. I was also impressed by the other student entrepreneurs’ enthusiasm and creativity. Race to Revenue is the most memorable thing in this summer. It helps me to take the first step to become an entrepreneur.