Blog by N36 Candidate Jane Wu - Stories Of Womenspiration
Let’s get the elephant out of the room – this is not a typical entrepreneurial story. My journey with Penyo Pal began last fall when I walked into a room of three strangers and was given seed money to start a venture.
What might sound like a social experiment was actually the Next 36, an innovative business incubator that focuses on creating solid, diverse teams. Surprisingly there was no awkward “first date” feel to the team and the four of us, all recent grads with the same appetite for risk, decided to satiate those startup dreams we all held so dear.
Fast forward through late nights of caffeine-powered ideation, countless Google+ hangouts and nights spent bonding in basements, we created Penyo Pal, an edtech venture that combines research in education, design and games to create engaging language learning experiences.
How we settled on this “Zynga for Language Learning” concept stemmed from the serendipitous team composition. All four co-founders were extremely passionate about education and using technology to improve its accessibility. Growing up as a Chinese-Canadian, I had struggled with trying to learn the language of my heritage. Classes, books, and podcasts – I had tried them all to little avail, and as we hit the streets to talk to potential customers I quickly realized I was not alone.