Toronto’s Penyo Pal Launches at Microsoft in Silicon Valley

It’s always great to see Canadian companies make a splash in Silicon Valley and it’s a double whammy for me when there’s a Calgarian involved in the team.

Founded by Jane Wu, Jessica Fan, Rafal Dittwald and Ryan Wagner this year, Penyo Pal is a platform that creates engaging learning experiences for kids and kids at heart—the founders call it “edu-play-tion.”

Penyo Pal was one of eight stealth startups, selected from over 300, and the only Canadian startup that was given the opportunity to launch onstage at Microsoft in Mountain View last month. Penyo Pal also got to demonstrate the effectiveness of their product by teaching a kid volunteer some basic Chinese using their app. The judges, including Christine Tsai of 500 Startups and Robert Scoble of Scobelizer, named Penyo Pal “The Best Overall 1.0 Startup.”

“All of us are extremely passionate about education and using technology to improve its accessibility,” said Jane Wu, Cofounder and Chief Happiness Officer. “That passion, combined with 21 years of goofing off in Chinese school and playing games naturally led to Penyo Pal, where we combine language, technology and gaming to change the way people learn.”

Penyo Pal’s first game, Food Frenzy, launched two weeks ago on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and is making waves. Move over Rosetta Stone; Penyo Pal is the new way to learn languages.