Former UTS student Hoang Dao wins International Alumni Prize
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Former UTS student Hoang Dao wins International Alumni Prize

by Freya Lucas

October 02, 2018

Founder and CEO of Early Start, Hoang Dao, has been formally recognised for his contribution to early language learning with the award of the UTS International Alumni prize at a ceremony held in Sydney on Thursday 27 September 2018.


Dao left Vietnam in 2002 to study software engineering at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) as a recipient of an Australian Development Scholarship.



Although Dao and his roomate, Binh Nguyen, would go on to launch Vietnam’s most successful news aggregation site, Dao found his first months in Sydney challenging, with people struggling to understand his English.



Dao has dedicated himself to overcoming this challenge, and assisting children the world over to learn English. Now based in Hanoi, Dao is a pioneer in the gamification of English language lessons for young children, being the creator of two of Vietnam’s five most downloaded apps: Monkey Stories and Monkey Junior.



Motivated to learn more about early childhood development by the birth of daughter Khanh Linh in 2011, Dao partnered with early education specialists to create Monkey Junior, which caters to children from six months of age. With reading materials in six languages, Monkey Junior is the most downloaded ‘learn-to-read’ app in the United States of America.


Relying on children’s natural learning processes, and brain development methodology researched by Glenn Doman and Dr Bob Titzer, Monkey Junior is a tool parents use alongside their children to develop language and literacy skills.



The award builds on Dao’s recent successes. In 2016, Dao won first place in Silicon Valley’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology Tech – I competition, in a pool of more than 1,000 entrants from 100 countries.



In the coming months, Dao is set to launch mathematics and phonics apps, with an aim of improving his international reach, stating “we’re the leading early education company in Vietnam, but we want to be world leaders”.  

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