Once Upon An App

With three growing girls and a
growing business, Tribeca mom Wandy Yeap Hoh has become one busy “mompreneur”
since launching her own company with friend David Park just one year ago.
MeeGenius, a reading application that allows parents to download children’s
books onto their iPad or other mobile device, was fashioned for a new generation
of readers who are tech-savvy, need flexibility and appreciate interactive
voice narration and word highlighting features.

As Yeap Hoh and Park each watched
their young kids eagerly delve into playing with smartphones and computers,
they had the idea for a reading device that would enable parents to spend more
time with the kids while on the go. As Park was a professor and frequently
commuted between New York City and Washington,
D.C., he wanted to be able to read a story
to his kids while he was away, and incorporating educational technology into
the mix seemed like the perfect solution.

wanted to spend time with them on the computer, but we really didn’t find
anything that was good for the children, like reading a book. There were no
audio play back enhancements that allow the children to be engaged in the book,
or personalization tools, things like that,” Yeap Hoh recalls.

She and Park spent 16 months doing
research and development before teaming up with a digital creative agency to
launch the MeeGenius app, which features audio personalization and lets parents
record their own voice and customize a story with their child’s name as one of
the characters. MeeGenius currently works with various publishers and content
providers to offer 60 books in its online library at meegenious.com. Over the
next year, more reading comprehension tools are planned to enhance each child’s
reading experience. MeeGenius is also involved with a pilot program at one NYC
school where the app will be integrated into the school curriculum and used on
classroom iPads.

Before transitioning into creating her own startup, Yeap Hoh
drew from her experiences working for several large corporations as a business
executive in investment banking. But it’s her kids who seem to inspire her with
new ideas, as being a mom and working on products for children seem to go
hand-in-hand for her.

“They’re my go-to people [for
feedback about] the stories they like, what they like about it, and they give ideas
as to what works and what doesn’t work for children,” she says. For example,
her girls taught her that “kids’ attention spans turn on and off pretty
immediately by different voices and narration. The actual stories are very important
to how the kids react. They’ll tell you when they like the pictures, and you
know when you have a really great illustrator on hand.”

When they’re not talking about ideas for MeeGenius, Yeap Hoh
and her girls enjoy going to the butterfly exhibit at the American
Museum of Natural History and
attending children’s theater productions. What’s most rewarding to Yeap Hoh
about motherhood is simply watching her children grow. “Just seeing them become
little persons as time goes by, watching their personalities unfold; I think that’s
the most rewarding thing,” she says.

In addition to running her own company and spending time
with her family, Yeap Hoh is also an active
philanthropist; she is on the Friends Committee of Baby Buggy, a
non-profit organization dedicated to providing NYC families in need with
essential equipment, clothing and products for their infants and young

So how does she juggle her kids and active life with her new
venture? “Organization, organization,
organization,” says Yeap Hoh. “It’s also really about not being afraid to ask
for help. I’m very lucky to have people that I can rely on to make my life

For more information,
visit meegenius.com.

Photo: Wandy
Yeap Hoh with her husband, William Hoh, and children, Sophia, 5, Audrey, 4, and Caroline, 17 months.