Launchpad 2017

March 5, 2022

10am Hawaii / 12pm PST / 3pm EST

UK: 8pm, Saturday, March 5, 2022
Rome: 9pm, Saturday, March 5, 2022
Taiwan: 4am, Sunday, March 6, 2022
Japan: 5am, Sunday, March 6, 2022


The LaunchPad event offers a unique platform for first-time entrepreneurs who have created a technology product intended to impact world language education.

How it works

Five startup companies pitch their technology innovation to a lively online audience from the world language education community. A panel of highly specialized judges provide feedback and select a winner based on the pedagogical merits of the product. The winner receives formal recognition in the form of an honorary plaque. Additionally, a People’s Choice award is determined by the audience and also receives an honorary plaque.

2022 Finalists

e Kidz Logo
Fabulingua Logo
Immerse Me Logo


CEO & Founder: Chris Hammer

Primary Audience: Undergrad, Community College, High School, K-16 Education

Charlala is a conversational language platform designed for the world language classroom. Charlala has two core tools: a simulated conversation tool and a digital whiteboard tool. Educators use the platform to assess student speaking proficiency and practice conversation activities. The platform also converts any device into a digital canvas to engage students in authentic conversations through a variety of communicative activities including card talks, weekend chats, and storytelling. Both tools are integrated into the Charlala platform, allowing teachers to organize classes, create asynchronous assignments, host synchronous activities, and provide feedback using rubrics that look and feel like traditional rubrics on paper.


CEO: Mike Kennedy

Primary Audience: Government/Adult Ed., Graduate, Undergrad, Community College, High School

JinbuPal is an innovative web-based mobile application designed to help learners rapidly jumpstart their Mandarin skills by focusing on maintaining continual noticeable progress as the key driver of success. JinbuPal’s card-based system features individual character and word cards, similar to digital flashcards. JinbuPal confronts users with all the characters and words they will need to reach 90% recognition when engaging with real-world content. The beauty of our model is we provide students with an environment where they feel completely free to learn their own way while also limiting the content just enough to ensure learners gain the maximum practical results for their efforts. With JinbuPal, even complete beginners can take their Chinese to a high proficiency level faster than they would ever have imagined.


CEO: Paul Custance

Primary Audience: Government/Adult Ed.

Lirica is a mobile application that teaches all the building blocks of the language through amazing music. The app intelligently matches up core language components with the lyrics of different pieces of popular music, fitting them to your difficulty level, so that you can succeed whether you’re an absolute beginner or have a little more experience. With each song, listeners learn vocabulary, grammar, and listening comprehension in context, which is reinforced every time they listen to the song. Songs make language memorable. They are used in classrooms around the world to engage students and illuminate culture. Our mission is to place this powerful classroom learning interaction directly into the hands of people to learn anywhere, whenever they want.


Data Scientist: Kiril Genov

Primary Audience: Government/Adult Ed., Graduate, Undergrad, Community College, High School

Worddio is a vocabulary and pronunciation app, targeted primarily for non-native English-speakers (EFL). Our audio flashcards provide users with a quick and effective means to improve their use of the English language. With more than 270,000 words in 34 languages, Worddio is the ideal companion for those who wish to grow and enrich their use of the English language. Our target users include professionals, students, and sector-specific workers seeking to improve their communication abilities for work or leisure. Worddio is also a great solution for native English-speakers who are studying foreign languages and need to improve vocabulary and pronunciation. Our app is mobile-native and hands-free (no swiping or clicking) so users can learn on-the-go.


Exposure to thousands of language educators and several successful companies in the field through the Tech Center news and website.

The Tech Center will add your company to its network of 31 language programs at 21 leading institutions of higher education and will invite your company to participate in select targeted Tech Center-sponsored events and projects.

Past participants will provide mentoring for the competition.

Inclusion in our network of innovators, which includes highly specialized professionals in the field of language learning technology.

Winners will be featured in promotional materials for the event.

LaunchPad Award

The LaunchPad Award is given to a single finalist and is determined by a group of judges appointed by the Tech Center. Judges typically include Flagship stakeholders (program directors, teachers, and students), leadership of established companies, and potential investors.

LaunchPad judging criteria:

  1. Flagship Fit: the product has potential to be used in the Flagship context. Learn about The Language Flagship here.
  2. Product Alignment: the product’s purpose is aligned with its affordances, features, and functions.
  3. User Experience: the product supports user engagement and the user experience through a well designed user interface.
  4. Innovation: the product utilizes innovative approaches and/or technology to address a need in technology-enhanced language learning and/or teaching.
  5. Pitch Quality: the product pitch is well structured, convincing, and utilizes visual media in effective ways.

Qualification Criteria

Companies must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be a seed- or early-stage company (must not have raised over five million in funds from combined funding sources) with a main focus on the language education market.
  2. Have a language technology product designed (or adaptable) for use in higher education. 
  3. Have a language technology product, process or service in use by customers or early beta (testing) customers at time of application.

People’s Choice Award

Voted live by the LaunchPad audience

The People’s Choice Award is determined at the end of the competition and is based on a simple majority of votes. Only one LaunchPad finalist receives this award. The awardee may or may not be the same recipient of the LaunchPad Award selected by the judges.


Competition Rules

Companies may present only one technology product, process or service and are responsible for protecting their own intellectual property (IP) rights.

Each company has an equal amount of time to present but may opt to forgo presentation time for feedback.

Learn More About LaunchPad

The LaunchPad Competition started in 2017 and was inspired by the  the Japanese TV show Dragon’s Den, and its U.S. successor, Shark Tank. LaunchPad is designed to facilitate early dialogs between startup companies and world language professionals. 

Read More


Contact Information


1890 East West Road

Moore Hall 256

Honolulu, HI 96822

(808) 956-5121