On 05 April 2018, the UNICEF Innovation Fund announces 6 new investments in open source technology solutions –Pixframe is among one of six new portfolio companies to receive investment. Pixframe kicks off a cohort of companies developing solutions which support best practices identified by UNICEF’s research on games-based learning.
The UNICEF Innovation Fund invests in technology start-ups from developing markets that are working on open source solutions to improve children’s lives. The Innovation Fund applies a venture capital approach to source solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. These solutions are clustered around $100billion industries in frontier technology spaces. Check out www.unicefinnovationfund.org for more information – including real-time data – on each investment.
Pixframe: Developing Towi, a software platform leveraging games-based learning tools to strengthen children’s cognitive skills.
How would you describe your solution?
Towi is a software platform that integrates game-based learning tools to strengthen children’s cognitive skills across different areas including memory and attention. Towi evaluates children’s skills through a series of activities, which are then analyzed to develop personalized training paths. Children access these different training activities through an online subscription, by which data is collected on the Towi cloud to help evaluate performance and effectiveness.
A glimpse: the first part of a child’s journey with Towi is traveling to the Towi Island…
”It’s getting late and you must pack. Take a taxi to the airport, catch your flight, pilot an airplane and when you arrive to the Towi Island, the real fun will begin! The island’s inhabitants need your help to complete different challenges, find as much kiwis as possible (kiwis are the most valuable fruit in the Towi Island), so you can use them to buy accessories, clothes and much more”.
A closer look…
Towi is a personalized and accessible program to train cognitive skills (attention, memory, and executive functions) using activities designed as video games. The solution is focused on cognitive skills since they are the fundamental skills used to think, learn, read and write, reason, and solve problems. Towi works through 3 components: the Towi test which provides a screening of children’s development level; the Towi Island which creates a personalized training path that helps children develop their cognitive skills; and the Towi cloud which allows parents and specialists to track their children’s progress.
All the activities were designed following gamification guidelines, creating cognitive training for kids that is attractive, engaging, and effective.
What is unique about your solution and how is it different from what currently exists?
Towi is personalized for every kid, but it can be used by a group of students simultaneously and without specialized and individual supervision. This makes it easier for Towi to be applied in schools to help identify learning opportunities immediately. All the data related to the child’s performance is stored, so authorised specialists can monitor children’s activity even if they are not in the same room. The app can be downloaded in a tablet or computer, and can be accessed through an affordable monthly subscription which makes the program very accessible worldwide
Why does being open-source make your solution better?
Opening our platform to other developers and researchers will allow us to reach Towi’s main goals sooner, and better. Being open source also increases the possibility to generate a greater number of tests and cognitive training activities. In addition, open data for research will allow a better understanding of the way children learn and the tools they use – which will all feed into creating a product that is relevant, and addresses the needs of our users.
How did you come up with your solution and what inspired you to form your company? What is your team’s MO and drive towards the problem you’re trying to solve?
In a regular school, 10% – 25% of children do not have normal cognitive development levels due to learning disabilities or the lack of cognitive stimulation. Many of these cases are not identified or treated correctly which may result in low performance in academic, professional, and even personal contexts.
Meeting at the same university, the initial members of the team felt compelled to address this ongoing issue – using our passion to find and build solutions in the University where we met.
Thanks to the support of investors and advisors, we built a multidisciplinary team with a common goal; using our knowledge, experience, and work to improve how children learn. Similar to how we are building Towi, our team aims to continue to utilize innovation and technology in developing different solutions to transform education for children.
What do you plan on doing with UNICEF’s Venture Fund investment and how will you use that to leverage raising follow-on investment?
Thanks to the UNICEF Innovation Fund, we plan to open our data to researchers, publish an API for developers, create two new activities to strengthen children’s memory and attention, integrate artificial intelligence to create more personalized learning experiences and fully translate Towi into English.
We will also make Towi available for free to schools and institutions who will be participating in our scientific research protocols (to keep identifying the positive effects of using Towi and strengthen its validity as a tool to treat learning disabilities). This investment will also help us achieve our goal of 10,000 users (to start), and get valuable data about their learning processes and strengthen our tool. The development and research will turn the company into a very attractive investment option to keep improving children’s education.
We cannot wait to share with you the results of the hard work we will be doing over the next 12 months. Our team is very excited and totally ready to start this journey! Thank you and looking forward.
Pixframe Studios – Towi
CEO and Cofounder
The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking to make $50-90K equity-free investments to provide early stage (seed) finance to for-profit technology start-ups that have the potential to benefit humanity.
If you’ve got a start-up registered in one of UNICEF’s programme countries and have a working, open source prototype (or you are willing to make it open-source) showing promising results, the UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking for you. Find more information visit: https://unicefinnovationfund.org/