2019 LaunchPad Finalists Announced!

App called Extempore
App called Extempore

November 23 at 12pm

Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC


Think Shark Tank at ACTFL 2019!

In its third year, this event, sponsored by ACTFL and the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center at the University of Hawaii, features first-time entrepreneurs who have created a technology product intended to fill a need in world language education. A panel of experienced professionals and attendees will provide input and decide on a winner based on the pedagogical merits of the product.

The LaunchPad competition at ACTFL gave Banter a platform to engage with decision makers from educational organizations all over the world. While venture capital competitions can help you raise funds to support your business, only LaunchPad can allow you to test the relevance of your product to modern-day approaches to language acquisition, and have your company validated by industry and academy-leading professionals. Frank Dolce, 2018 LaunchPad Winner

CEO, Banter

Event Overview

Inspired by the show Shark Tank, the competition consists of a 90-minute session at one of the convention venues during which a small group of startup companies pitch their innovation and receive feedback from a highly specialized audience of world language educators. The winner of the competition will receive an honorary plaque from ACTFL and the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center. All participating companies showcase and demonstrate their products at the Tech Center booth during ACTFL World Languages Expo hours on November 22-24, 2019.

About the LaunchPad

The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (Tech Center) and ACTFL are prime sponsors of the LaunchPad. The Tech Center is an initiative sponsored by the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO) and its mission is to enhance The Language Flagship experience through the effective use of technology.

The American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) hosts the ACTFL World Languages Expo, which brings together more than 8,000 language educators around the world from all languages, levels, and assignments.


The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (Tech Center) will provide shared booth space at the 2019 ACTFL World Languages Expo at no cost for qualifying participants.

Exposure to thousands of language educators and several successful companies in the field during the ACTFL convention and through the Tech Center News and website.

Participants will be featured in promotional materials distributed to over 6,000 ACTFL members prior to the conference.

The Tech Center will add your company to its network of 31 language programs at 21 leading institutions of higher education and will invite your company to participate in selected Tech Center-sponsored events.

2017 and 2018 participants will provide mentoring for the competition.

Inclusion in our network of innovators, which includes highly specialized professionals in the field of language learning technology.

Winners will be featured in promotional materials for the 2020 event.

Qualification Criteria

Companies must meet the following criteria:

Must be a seed- or early-stage company (must not have raised over two million in funds from combined funding sources) with a main focus on the language education market.

Have a language technology product, process or service in use by customers or early beta (testing) customers at time of application.

Have not been an exhibitor at a previous ACTFL convention.

Competition Rules

Companies may present only one technology product, process or service and are responsible for protecting their own intellectual property (IP) rights.

Each company has an equal amount of time to present but may opt to forgo presentation time for feedback.

LaunchPad Testimonial Carlos Seoane, 2017 LaunchPad Finalist

CEO, Extempore

Working with the Tech Center Launchpad has given VEO an excellent platform to build exciting partnerships in language education. In concrete terms, VEO has been able to form work with another growing Edtech platform that will see our software integrated into large-scale cross-cultural projects at University level, in addition to widespread trials with Language Flagship Universities in the US. The Launchpad team are extremely approachable and fantastic to work with. Aside from enjoying working with such enthusiastic and knowledgeable partners, I’m sure the long term benefits of our collaboration will be truly transformative for our business. Paul Miller, 2018 LaunchPad Finalist


Launchpad Timeline

About ACTFL world languages expo

EXPO Attendee’s Interests

Reasons To Attend EXPO

Contact Information


1890 East West Road

Moore Hall 256

Honolulu, HI 96822

(808) 956-5121


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