Vietnamese start-up wins first place in Obama-backed IT competition

June 30, 2016 | 03:16 pm GMT+7

Vietnam’s Dao Xuan Hoang, 34, won the first prize for an education app at the Global Innovation through Science and Technology Competition 2016 in the US.

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Dao Xuan Hoang, left, at the award ceremony.

Hoang’s Monkey Junior, a children’s English teaching software which ranked among the top 18 at the Vietnamese Talents Awards 2015, was chosen among 28 other finalists from around the world.  
The bonus for the winner is $15,000 to develop the education app.
This was the first time a Vietnamese software developer reached the final of the annual GIST Tech event held in the tech-heartland of California’s Silicon Valley and won first place.
The competition, a global initiative from the US government and backed by US President Obama, attracted 1,075 entries from more than 100 countries. Three products sent by Vietnam, Fundy, Monkey Junior and MediFree reached the semi-final, with Monkey Junior by Dao Xuan Hoang selected along with 27 other products for the final round.
Monkey Junior is English teaching software for children aged from four months to 10 years old. Officially launched seven months ago, Monkey Junior is among the most popular children’s language improvement apps on Apple App Store and Google Play, constantly in the top 100 downloaded educational apps in a range of countries including the US, Canada and Vietnam with a total of over half a million downloads and thousands of positive feedback from users worldwide.
The software was born from the heart and mind of a father concerned about his child’s development – author and father Dao Xuan Hoang, who graduated in IT under an Australian government scholarship in 2008.
The program is designed as a system of effective and comprehensive lessons with a total of over 1,000 lessons per language, applying learning methods proven by the world's leading experts in the field of early childhood education.
Each day the child can go through one or more lessons, at 5-7 minutes each. The parents do not need to plan and prepare learning content. All lesson content has been prepared and distributed by experts under the program.
According to Hoang, Monkey Junior targets global users so the languages taught in the program are the most common ones around the world.
Currently, the British, American English, Vietnamese, French, Spanish and Chinese versions of the program have been completed.