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Our History

LangInnov started back in 2017, when Dr. Raña and Dr. Cao discussed their career goals. At the time, they were mothers of young bilingual children, which they believe is an incredible asset. However, they could see that bilingualism could be difficult to maintain when children start school and in certain cases, it could even hinder their school achievement if it is not well exploited. Both co-founders brainstormed for hours and decided they wanted to contribute their academic knowledge of linguistics to a societal cause. A few months later, the BLAST app was born...

Our Leadership

LangInnov was founded by two entrepreneurial women:

Dr. Rocio Raña and Dr. Xuan-Nga Cao.

Dr. Raña and Dr. Cao met in New York City while pursuing doctoral studies in linguistics. Since then, they have collaborated in research, educational and business projects. LangInnov is the culmination of years of joint and independent work that allowed them to realize that there was a societal need for an app such as BLAST.

Our Team


Dr. Rocio Raña is the President and CEO of LangInnov. She has over 15 years of experience in linguistic project management and educational research. She earned her PhD in Linguistics at CUNY’s Graduate Center, and has extensive experience in bilingual literacy development and assessments, second language acquisition, and sociolinguistics. Dr. Raña has authored several publications in her areas of expertise.

Rocío Raña, Ph.D
Co-Founder, CEO

Kelly Wong is an Accounting Intern for Langlnnov and she is currently pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Finance at Baruch College and minoring in Computer Science. She loves to expand her knowledge in the business world and finds every opportunity to learn more about it. Her interests include coding, drawing, and gardening. Additionally, in her free time, she volunteers at children's events.

Kelly Wong
Accounting Assistant

Dr. Xuan-Nga Cao is the COO of LangInnov. She is also the co-founder of Gazouyi, a parenting app. She has sustained several management positions in different startup companies. At present, she leads the Echolalia project, developed within the Cognitive Machine Learning team located at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. She has co-authored several papers on speech tools and analysis of speech in child daylong recordings.

Xuan-Nga Cao, Ph.D
Co-Founder, COO

Maureen Grady is currently pursuing a MA at Middlebury College in Spanish Language and Literature with an emphasis on linguistics. She received her bachelor's in history from the University of Scranton and also holds a MA in International Education from NYU. Her most recent work was at FLS International in which she directed the company's English language center in Jersey City, and later as a program director.

Maureen Grady

Linguistics & Educational Content Assistant


Upon completion of an MA at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Educational and Training Technology. Nicolás Odini has joined LangInnov as a full-time intern in the content and product development team. Nicolás also obtained a Bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Vigo and holds certifications from Google for Teachers. His most recent work experience was at AE Group: Advanced Education, where he helped coordinate the campus for teacher training in educational technologies.

Nicolás Odini

Product Development Intern


Evgeniya Maryutina is a Ph.D student at Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences Department at CUNY Graduate Center. She also holds MA in Linguistics from CUNY Graduate Center. Her research focuses on bilingual children and phonology. She also works as a Russian instructor for children at Carousel of Languages and heads their research department. Evgeniys is also an avid language learner, traveler, and enjoys taking dance classes during her free time.

Jane Maryutina

Linguistics & Educational Content Assistant


Marília Valengo is a Brazilian Content Designer passionate about traveling, literature, storytelling, and her niece. No need to say, Portuguese is her first language. She is finishing an online MBA in Creative Writing at Universidade of Fortaleza, Brazil. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Social communication and has experience working as a Copy Writer and Content Design. Her first poetry book was launched in Brazil and her goal is to publish it in the U.S.

Marília Valengo
Educational Content Writer

Nicholas Uva is currently pursuing a M.A. in Computational Linguistics from CUNY Grad Center. He is interested in semantics, historical linguistics, information theory, and building language tools for under-served communities. He loves learning languages, and is fluent(ish) in Italian. In his free time he enjoys running, cooking, astronomy, and board games.

Nicholas Uva
Machine Learning Research Assistant

Richie Budijono is a full-stack mobile developer enthusiast. With a degree in B.Sc. in Computer Science, he loves to self-learn and expand his knowledge in the world of software development. He may not talk much, but always stay communicative when approached.

Richie Budijono
Full-Stack Programmer

Lindsay Chandler is a graphic designer,  illustrator and animator with a passion for story telling. She has her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design where she studied Painting with a focus in Textiles. After living in Colombia for 5 years she came home speaking fluent... French (long story)! Her other hobbies include ceramics, textile design, picnics, and exploring different ways of life.

Lindsay Chandler
Illustrator + Animator

Despina Skartados is currently pursing a B.A. in Mathematics at Baruch College, where she is a member of the Baruch Actuarial Science Society and the Association for Women in Mathematics Baruch Chapter. During her free time she tutors children in the Modern Greek Language and in Mathematics. She enjoys traveling and learning new languages.

Despina Skartados
Sales Assistant
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