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

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


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

Elizabeth Garza ia an M.A. student of Linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her interests include computational linguistics, language acquisition, and learnability. She is also a research coordinator for the Second Language Acquisition Lab at CUNY, where she is in charge of coordinating the development of reading comprehension assessments for the Multilingual Literacy Development project.

Elizabeth Garza

Linguistics & Educational Content Assistant


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


Kelly Jiang is currently pursuing a BBA in Marketing Management at the Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College. On campus, she is involved in Ascend, a pan Asian professional development organization. She's interested in exploring the intersections of business, media, and technology, and in her free time she loves to listen to music and go on long walks!

Kelly Jiang
Marketing Intern

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

Tavani Lawrence is currently pursuing her MBA in Global Business at Rider University, where she is also a graduate assistant for the residence life department. She recently recieved her Bachelor of Science degree in International Business from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Working at LangInnov has allowed her to discover her passion for sales, education, and helping others.

Tavani Lawrence
Sales 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

Emi Sato is a graphic designer and illustrator with a passion for story telling. She has her BFA from Pratt Institute, where she studied Communications Design with a focus in Branding and Art Direction. Additionally, she can read, write, and speak Japanese. Her other hobbies include painting, screen printing, and digital illustration.

Emi Sato
Graphic Designer