"Why can't learning a language be as fun as playing Angry Birds?"

This was an opportunity that my team was bent on exploring. We were a scrappy group of designers, developers, and hustlers who shared a vision for disrupting the education space. Current language education relies on rote memorization of textbook material - not surprising that most kids struggle to stay interested. With the adoption of mobile devices and the rise of gaming, we saw an opportunity to make language education fun and effective. 

As Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, I conducted several months of research to understand the needs of students, Chinese language educators, and parents. We created prototypes exploring how game mechanics could be used to teach vocabulary, composition, conversation, writing, and proverbs. These were tested with kids, both heritage and non-heritage speakers, in schools and summer camps throughout Canada.


the result

We released a series of Penyo Pal mobile apps that combined endearing characters with spatial learning to help kids master Chinese vocabulary. Within weeks of launching our flagship game, Penyo Pal was awarded “Best Overall New Startup” at the Launch.co EDU Conference in Mountainview, CA. Positive reviews were received from both kid and adult learners. A superfan even managed to break our score counter by passing our highest level.

“Food Frenzy”, “Tone Dance Party”, and “Baby Kirin” are now available in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. Languages have expanded to include English and French.

Penyo Pal games have been downloaded by over 1 million users, and have been featured in various media including Forbes, Techvibes, and National Post. 


  • Launch.co EDU Conference – “Best Overall 1.0 Startup” 
  • Queen’s Kinnear Business Plan Competition - First Place
  • Featured on BNN “The Pitch” 
  • Named one of CIX's "Canada's Top 20 Innovative Companies"

Demo of Penyo Pal Tone Dance Party