Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business. – Learning Languages On The Go

Ryan Meinzer

Ryan Meinzer, founder of language learning software startup, is today "substantially competent" in Japanese.

Startup intends to transform the world of language. The Philadelphia-based language learning software company lets users download digital “language flashcards” using any mobile device such as their iPods, cell phones or personal digital assistants (PDA), allowing them to learn languages while on the move. empowers busy people to extract value from any idle minute with the most practical language learning on the go,” says founder Ryan Meinzer, was first inspired to learn Japanese two years ago but hardly had any free time. “I wanted to learn Japanese in the many sporadic idle minutes of my day, one word at a time, one minute at a time,” says Meinzer. “I didn’t have the US$300 for those attractive yellow Rosetta Stone boxes.” Meinzer doesn’t deny that Rosetta Stone’s language learning method is superior to‘s. He simply argues that his solution gets around the intimidating amount of discipline, time, and money required to learn a new language.

Today, through using his own solution, Meinzer is “substantially competent” in Japanese.

Building Traction

To build awareness for its products, offered private beta access to many language departments of major universities across the United States. After all, most students carried digital mobile devices, and eschewing the need for the traditional paper flashcards also meant that learning could be accelerated. So far, feedback has been good. currently offers products to learn Japanese, Chinese and Spanish, and its 4,000+ users to date have downloaded more than ten million free digital flashcards. It has also sold over 3,000 products to date, and plans to add more languages in the near future. was launched in 2008, and is fully sustainable. It was initially funded by a PayPal Japan executive, and is currently seeking funding to continue its sustainable and profitable expansion.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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