São Paulo – A Brazilian company called Geraes Tecnologia Assistiva is preparing to set foot in the United Arab Emirates. The start-up from Minas Gerais earned a reputation in the Arab country after winning EdTech Innovation Start-Up Contest 2018, promoted by the start-up incubator Krypto Labs from Abu Dhabi, and was also selected to exhibit their products at Special Olympics to occur from March 12 to 21 in the emirate.
With this first achievement, the company has opened the path to establish a branch in the UAE. Geraes won USD 150,000 through EdTech Innovation to open a unit in the Arab country. According to one of the company’s founding partners, Adriano Rabelo Assis, the plan was to have someone in the UAE in April to start talking with players from the education sector, with Krypto Labs’ assistance.
The news of another contest selection, this one promoted by the emirate’s government, however, came in the end of last week. The contest gave the company a stand to present its products at the Special Olympics in addition to a cash prize and the chance to exhibit its technology to the UAE senior government and be incubated in the country for two years, cost-free, in order to implement business there.
In an interview to ANBA, four days after hearing the news, Assis was quite enthusiastic about the new enterprise in the UAE. Geraes CCO José Rubinger Filho had traveled to the Arab country to represent Geraes in the Special Olympics activities and could decide to anticipate the prospection predicted for April. According to Assis, their next steps in the Arab country will be reevaluated once the trip is over.
Geraes produces technology for e-accessibility. In fact, its products allow people with physical or intellectual disabilities to use a computer or communicate through technology. One of the main products by Geraes is TiX, a panel that acts as a mouse and a keyboard. It has only 11 keys, which are big and touch-sensitive, ideal for people without fine motor skills. It may be handled with either upper or lower limbs – even with feet.
For those without movement below neck, the Brazilian start-up created a device called A-blinX, controlled by the blink of an eye. Through it, the user may give commands for TiX if they want to use the computer. The device may be used directly through the phone or the computer so the individual may communicate with others if they can’t talk.
Geraes has other products such as Simplix, a software for people with intellectual disabilities. Through it, educators may pass activities for them, some of them simplified, to be resolved through TiX. The company created with another tech company, Acton, an educational software for students with disabilities, TiX Letramento, with Portuguese and Math content for public elementary schools in Brazil. It will started being used on May.
Assis states they are considering the possibility to offer TiX Letramento in the UAE with local curricular content. The company’s products already have English versions. Last year, Geraes’ partners opened a company, Key2enable, in the United States, to be used as an exporting platform for the company. They participated in the Krypto Labs start-up contest through it. So, the UAE branch should be Key2enable. The competition had approximately 800 registrations.
Geraes Tecnologia Assistiva was created ten years ago, starting with solutions for visually impaired people. The product developed allowed blind people to catch a bus on their own but relied on the public sector because the devices had to be built in the bus. This made its dissemination difficult. On 2014, the company decided to focus on developing technology for people with motor and intellectual disabilities. At first, sales were made to final clients, but eventually schools and rehabilitation clinics became their biggest consumers. Now, Geraes has approximately 5,000 people using its products.
In addition to expanding on to the United States and the UAE, the Brazilian company has eyes on other foreign markets. Later this month they are promoting a workshop to present teachers from Costa Rica with their tech solutions.
Adriano Rabelo Assis is graduated in electrical engineering by Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFM, acronym in Portuguese) and Julio Cezar David de Melo, the company’s other founding partner, has a PhD in electrical engineering from University of Texas. In the picture above, Melo (right) and Assis (holding the TiX plaque with company’s developers. The two engineers created Geraes with another partner, who later left business. The company is based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Translated by Guilherme Miranda