Beatriz Zanatelli, CEO of Lightouch, during a trip to Toronto, was introduced to Miryam Lazarte, CEO of LatAm Startups, and had a conversation with her to see if there was a potential for Lightouch in Canada. In March 2019, she enrolled the Scaleup Bootcamp program and later completed the Softlanding program as the sixth cohort. Now, she has been accepted into the Startup Visa Program and two other accelerators: Accelerator Centre and CFC (Canadian Film Centre).
What is Lightouch?
Lightouch is an EdTech in the creative industry segment designed to help parents and educators empower children to thrive and succeed in life by building their emotional intelligence and strengthening their soft skills.
How did Lightouch come about?
It started off with Priscilla Zanatelli, COO of E-Create, Felipe Kinder, founder and CEO of E-Create, and I talking about how technology was affecting our children. We noticed that our children were immediately attracted to cellphones all the time, and it was getting difficult to get their attention. As parents, we were concerned on how technology could affect their interpersonal skills in the future. In addition, we realized that the society is being built in a way that you tend to look at your cellphones more instead of interacting with one another.
We started brainstorming because of this conversation, and had a thought: What if we create something for the children’s emotional intelligence, that leverages their interest in mobile devices? Nothing like that existed in the market at the time we thought about the idea.
That was when I decided to leave my own architecture company and joined E-Create because of this project, which is now called Lightouch.
What is the basis or methodology of Lightouch?
Priscilla had a post-graduate degree on Transdisciplinary Studies from University of Peace in Brazil, which is a partner of UNESCO. That is how we started on the background on Lightouch, and what we base our studies on. It is crucial for us to have a scientific base when dealing with emotional intelligence.
More specifically, we based our methodology on Pierre Weil’s studies. He discusses a lot about how there is no individual, nature or society, but that it is all a whole. As long as people do not realize this, we will not have a constructive environment to live in. Basically, he was engaging people to take responsibility of their action and their consequences. This ideology is what we base Lightouch on, to build children’s emotional intelligence and soft skills.
What makes you decide to come to Canada?
First of all, to enter the Canadian market, we noticed we would have to have an MVP testing and a pilot, and we had them ready. Secondly, the government support here in Canada for entrepreneurs is amazing. The best part is the fact that Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world. Once you test an app or platform here, we will have a much richer feedback as we are testing where there are children from all over the world, from different background and cultures. If we have an MVP that is successful in this diverse environment, then it is 90% positive that it will work globally.
In the future, we would like to adapt Lightouch into other medias, and one of them possibly as a cartoon series. Did you realize that in the good cartoons, they mostly have the Canadian flag at the end? This is because most of them are developed in Canada. This shows that Canada invests in the media for the children.
Personally, I came to Toronto 2-3 times during the whole process before I decided to move here with my family. Since I have always wanted to give my daughter the opportunity to live abroad, as I had in my childhood. After I spent some time here, I noticed that Canada was the place I wanted my daughter to grown up in. It seems that everything is aligning really well for me professionally and personally.
How is the process so far?
We decided to continue with the Startup Visa Program because we believe that it is going to open more doors for us, in terms of business opportunities and funding opportunities as well, as there are some grants that you can only access when you are a permanent residence in Canada.
We were very lucky to start with LatAm Startups. Miryam Lazarte is an amazing human being and well-known in the tech community in Toronto for her efforts and her network. Her guidance and connections have played an important role in the growth of Lightouch in Canada. This is very valuable and I am grateful to have started this journey with them. The LatAm Startups’ community has also been very helpful throughout the entire process.
Stay tuned for the launch of Lightouch!
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Interview by LatAm Startups’ Marketing Assistant, Gabriela Latief