In 2018, Beatriz Zanatelli was living and working in Brazil. She was acting as a consultant for an ed-tech company called E-Create that her sister Priscilla also worked at. As parents to young children, Beatriz and Priscilla started discussing how technology was being used to teach children about math, or reading, or writing. Together, they wondered if technology could also be used to teach emotional intelligence, a topic they took deep interest in. Felipe Kinder Tavares, owner of E-Create, also showed interest in this topic, so the three started working together to build Lightouch Technologies.
Beatriz, Priscilla and Felipe decided they wanted to launch their company in North America. They got involved with LatAm Startups, a nonprofit accelerator in Toronto and designated sponsor for Canada’s Startup Visa program, and made the move to Toronto to start Lightouch Technologies. It was through LatAm Startups that Beatriz learned about the Accelerator Centre and was motivated to join The Accelerator Program in September 2020.
Lightouch’s app, Touli’s World, is a mobile app built to engage with children and teach emotional intelligence. The game’s main character, Touli, is an explorer who moves through different worlds trying to rebuild our world after planet Earth has exploded. It’s Touli’s job to reunite all the parts of the world again. The game aims to show that our world is interconnected by drawing parallels between nature, society and the individual.
“We try to show … through the game that it's all interrelated and we should see it as a whole. We can't separate nature, [the] individual and society – they’re all together,” Beatriz said.
While the game offers basic entertainment through memory games, puzzles, colour games and more, children are asked to make decisions as Touli moves through the various worlds. It’s these decisions that measure the child’s emotional intelligence. Information on the child’s responses is gathered and then a behaviour report is delivered to their parents on how the child responded to various scenarios – is the child helpful? Do they laugh at others misfortune?
“We don’t believe there’s a right or wrong way to respond,” Beatriz said, “we just know that every action has a consequence and that’s how [children] have to learn how to deal with their emotions.”
Information about the child’s decisions, as well as other informative content for parents about how to build and improve emotional intelligence or manage behavioural issues, is all available through Lightouch’s online portal.
“We’re focusing a lot on the parents, too. We strongly believe you cannot change a child if you do not change their environment,” Beatriz said.
Beatriz explained that while society as a whole places so much value on academic achievement, emotional intelligence is very much linked to success in the workplace. More than half of terminations occur not because the employee does not have the skills to do the job, but because they lack emotional intelligence skills to work effectively with others.
“I believe that if we can show the children [that] doing good, being good, being kind and controlling [your emotions] … that will lead to a much nicer planet to live on and a much nicer society,” Beatriz said.
In May 2019, before moving to Canada, Beatriz toured the Accelerator Centre with LatAm Startups. She felt very drawn to the program.
There is something special about the AC. I feel very much a part of the family – even before I started, I felt like it was the place for me to go,” she said. “I really love being a part of the AC community, the mentors are amazing, the staff is amazing, I’m a very satisfied client … [the mentors] feel like it’s their product, as well. I feel that all the mentors approach [the clients] as if it is their own company; they put in as much effort in as if it were their own. We’ve been very blessed. We’re very grateful for them.