The core Studycat team is based at our headquarters in Tainan, Taiwan but we have team members spread across the globe in Boston, Miami, Oxford, Stockholm, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. We represent 9 different nationalities, and we speak English, Mandarin, Spanish, French, German, Swedish, Japanese, and Taiwanese.


Mark, Mat and Jason founded Studycat from their base in southern Taiwan in 1999. After owning and operating successful language schools, they have now focused their combined talents into being the driving force behind Studycat.

Mark Pemberton


  • Commercial strategy
  • Partnerships
  • Global branding
  • Warwick University (Phil)
  • Fluent in Mandarin Chinese

Mateo Solares


  • Product strategy
  • Gamification of learning
  • Technical lead
  • Warwick University (Comp. Sci)
  • Fluent in Mandarin Chinese

Jason Bakkum

Head of Media Production

  • Art and video production
  • Song and story writing
  • Social media content creation
  • Cheng Da University (Mandarin)
  • Fluent in Mandarin Chinese

Academic Leaders

We’re proud to have these very experienced academic and educational leaders as part of the Studycat team. These experts ensure our learning content and experience meets the highest standards and delivers superior language learning outcomes.

Jake Whiddon

Head of Academic Experience

  • Academic Quality Assurance
  • Teacher training
  • Ex EF and  Macmillan Education
  • Trinity College London (DipTesol)
  • University of Queensland (IDLTM)

Maria Teresa Velasco

Head of Education

  • Discovery Education 20 years
  • Created ‘Discovery en la Escuela’
  • Winner of John Hendricks Innovation Award 2015
  • Cambridge University (Eng Lit.)

Wade O. Nichols

Curriculum Developer

  • Curriculum development
  • Curriculum writer for Disney English (China), Macmillan and Pearson
  • Ex Nickelodeon
  • MA Columbia University

Executive Management

WR Shao

Head of China

  • China Strategy and Execution
  • Greater China partnerships
  • 25 years IBM Taiwan
  • Chairman Eli Shanghai

Dan Schmeer

Head of Marketing

  • Conversion optimisation, localisation, ASO and SEO
  • 20 years marketing & product management within the financial services and education sectors
  • University of Liverpool (Politics)

Charles Normann


  • Cloud infrastructure, full-stack development
  • Over 20 years software engineering
  • Dell, EA, Lockheed Martin & multiple startups


Frank Foley

Head of Partnerships, Japan

  • 30 years living and working in Japan
  • 20+ years as Country Manager
  • Kids brands and branded educational products specialist
  • Fluent in Japanese

Erica Keim

Head of Global Partnerships

  • Business development
  • Entrepreneurship, Responsible for a large number of strategic transformations
  • Ed-Tech and HR-Tech
  • Passionate about learning and development

Dave Weller

Head of Partnerships Europe

  • 17 years in language education
  • Teaching, training, management
  • Marketing & analytics
  • Business development


Dan Branigan

Creative Director

  • Design direction, UX, copywriting
  • 20 years digital design: Shell, Disney, Virgin, Deutsche Bank
  • Warwick University (Film)

Catherine Lu

Senior Designer

  • Game graphics, animations, branding & UI design
  • Marketing graphics, videos & books design
  • 10 years of graphics & animations freelancing
  • Multimedia & Entertainment Science (STUST)

Rainbit Tsai


  • Game Graphics / UI design / Animations /Branding
  • Marketing / Books layout design
  • 2 years of UI design in AUER
  • Multimedia and Entertainment Science(STUST)


Beatriz Varona

Social Media - Spanish Community

  • Emmy Nominated Producer
  • Digital Media Producer Discovery Channel
  • Social Media Manager Zee Entertainment
  • Content developer

Eric Shao

Social Media

  • Technical support
  • Business development

Hans Lee

Social Media

  • China market analysis
  • Business Administration, Finance(NTUST)

Sales & Admin

Paul Grainger

Business Development Manager

  • B2B Promotion (South East Asia)
  • National Geographic Learning 13 years
  • International House (DipTESOL-  Distinction)
  • Hull University (French & Dutch)

Amanda Liou

Office Manager

  • Human Resources
  • Financial & Accounting
  • Office support
  • Marketing manager, China


Chase Lee

Software developer

  • Product QA & Maintenance
  • Bridge between China agent and Studycat
  • UI design
  • Multimedia and Entertainment Science (STUST)

Ed Hsu

Junior Web Developer

  • Web front end developer
  • update and maintenance

Simon Braunstein

Game developer

  • Designs/develops new games and curriculums
  • MA in English Edu (CUNY), Grad Dip in Game Design (RMIT)
  • Certified teacher in the US and Australia

Allen Lin

Application Developer

  • Create, develop and maintain apps

Ian Jamieson

Full Stack Developer

  • Web Developer, DevOps & Infrastructure
  • 20 years of software engineering and programming
  • MSc Human Computer Interaction. (Robert Gordon Uni.)
  • Terminal gremlin