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

Creative Director

  • 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

Head of Curriculum

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

Executive Management

Danny Bolivar

Head of Community

  • Studycat Social and Community
  • Ex VP Media at Discovery Kids
  • Ex Head of Global Social Media for Discovery Networks & Communications 2011-2014

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

Senior Backend Developer

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

Dan Branigan

Senior Web Developer

  • Web presence, UX, copywriting
  • 20 years web design: Disney, Virgin, Deutsche Bank, etc.
  • Warwick University (Film)

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

Tim Niven

Data Scientist and Engineer

  • Manage flow of data
  • Apply machine learning from data to improve product
  • PhD student (National Cheng Kung University), Computer Science Department

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


Rainbit Tsai


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

Catherine Lu


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

Shin Hu

Animator & Designer

  • Animation
  • Graphics Design
  • Editor


Caitlin Reid

Social Media Manager

  • Global social content strategy
  • 6 years TEFL Teacher
  • Strategic marketing, consumer behavior
  • International MBA National Cheng Kung University

Winni Hsieh

Social Media - Mandarin Community

  • Early childhood education columnist
  • Website conversion language setup
  • BA, Psychology, National Cheng Kung University

Beatriz Varona

Social Media - Spanish Community

Jorel Ou

Marketing Manager Taiwan

  • Marketing research
  • B2B promotion
  • Bachelor of International Finance and Business
  • Management, Chang Jung Christian University

Eric Shao

Marketer of China District

  • Technical support
  • Business development

Hans Lee

Marketer of China District

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

Administration and Finance

Amanda Liou

Office Manager

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