The Founders

The team behind Cognate consists of Alejandro Paschalides, Shirley Lu, and Tamim Zaki. We are multilingual and passionate about language learning. Between the three of us, we speak 5 languages fluently, and we are in the process of learning a few others. We have several friends and family members who speak other languages too. We believe that learning a foreign language can greatly enrich the lives of people, and lead to a happier, more interconnected world.

Origin Story

The idea for Cognate came to Alejandro Paschalides while he was preparing for a job interview with a German financial services firm. Despite already being fluent in German and having fully completed several online courses, he still found himself having to look up much of the jargon and tangential keywords for the financial industry. He also remembered how excited he was to learn words related to his hobbies of photography and music, and how uninteresting other topics were. Since engagement is the number one driver of success in language learning, he felt like the learning process could be significantly improved through customization. Once he shared the idea with Tamim Zaki and Shirley Lu, the co-founders, they were fully onboard and excited to use their skills to help transform the concept into a real product.

Vision & Mission Statement

"Making language learning more fun, engaging, and effective through the intelligent use of personalization."

We believe that the number one driver of learner engagement in language learning is relevance of the content to the user. Relevant content means different things to every learner, but all learners have a specific goal in mind, whether that be integration into a new country, a desire to succeed in a multilingual job, or even something as simple as the desire to consume foreign language entertainment content like TV shows or music. Regardless of the specific goal you have, we want to help you reach it!

Future Plans

We will be adding more languages to our platform over time, and we plan to consistently add content across all languages, to continue increasing the possibilities for learning. We are planning several feature additions and enhancements in the coming years, and seek to be at the forefront of language learning technology.

Contact Us

If you wish to reach out to us, please feel to send us an email at info@cognatelanguages.com