Seedling is a chat-based language learning app developed during Startup Showcase at Foster School of Business. Users can pick a personalized topic and get matched with other language learners to engage in a conversation.


Market analysis, Competitor research


10 weeks

Team size

5 people

The problem

We conducted a survey targeted towards students at University of Washington on January 29th to 31st. The main feature recognized as most important in language learning was real-world conversation. Live interaction was interestingly marked as more essential than other features such as vocabulary repeitition, grammar practice, and reading exposure.

Existing language-learning apps lack real, person-to-person conversational interactions needed for language acquisition and desired by 70% of surveyed learners. Additionally, many language-learners have anxiety about using a new language in conversation and struggle to find people to practice with. 58% have been embarrassed by their inability to communicate with someone who spoke a different language. This indicates a growing need for conversation-based language education solutions.

What is Seedling?

Seedling is a gamified language-learning app that connects learners via online chat. Users must use a certain keyword, a vocabulary related to the topic in the given language, in conversation. An AI assistant also helps users with real time hint and translation features. Once the word is used, the chat ends and a plant for both users grow, representing their growth in the language.

Competitive Strategy

A main competitor would be Duolingo. The lessons offered at Duolingo are focused on introducing sets of new vocabularies and grammar structures through a gamified experience.

Other competitors include Busuu, Pimsleur, and Babbel. These companies offer core lessons, reading resources, and simulative conversations. However, role-play chats following a certain script is not as engaging and memorable as having real conversations with real people.

Our commitment to fostering a supportive community sets us apart. Unlike many language apps lacking real-time interaction features, our users can engage directly with others on the same language-learning journey. This not only promotes collaboration but also creates a competitive yet enjoyable atmosphere that encourages consistent app usage. Such a collaborative environment will be furthered through diverse options for communication — with features unreleased in current apps.

  • Real-time conversation
  • Focusing on chatting with other learners in the language they are learning makes the learning experience more practical while practicing real-life language usage.

  • Gamified learning experience
  • The gamified approach with virtual plants that grow as users interact with the app will increase user engagement and makes learning more enjoyable.

Contingencies and Exit Strategy

We plan to cover extra expenses out of pocket, and will continue to seek out new industries and customers that may utilize the features of our product. In terms of our long-term exit strategy, our app provides unique features that would be attractive to larger companies in the education market, such as Duolingo or Babbel, to integrate into their own services by acquiring our business.

The Team

Me, Jenny Pyon, Anna Paulsell, Albiona Uka, Nathan Pao