An educator by training, Viola Lam, founder and CEO of Find Solution Ai (FSAI), firmly believes that only by understanding the students’ emotional states and feelings can a teacher discover their learning motivations and target their learning needs.
She founded FSAI with the goal to revamp learning and teaching. But she was motivated not just by her passion for education, but also by her experience as the mother of two.
Viola’s older son, Noah, is a six-year-old with moderate autism. He does not know how to articulate his feelings or express himself when he encounters problems. Instead, he displays his unease through facial expressions and anxious behaviour.
When Noah was born, Viola tried various ways to communicate and connect with him, but nothing worked.
“It is heart-wrenching to not be able to communicate with someone you deeply love.”
Viola was determined to find a way.
During her years of teaching, Viola realised that students often manifest different emotions and reactions during learning and that teaching cannot be a one-size-fits-all affair.
However, she also understands that a teacher simply cannot monitor every student’s emotional state. Even when a teacher can observe a student, it is hard for the teacher to interpret correctly the student’s emotions and learning motivation.
“For teachers to truly help their students learn, they must look deep into the students’ hearts.”
Viola believes that, every emotion can reflect a student’s motivation, stress, and other underlying feelings at any given moment. With AI, teachers and parents can quickly and accurately identify these emotions and make it easier to help the students.
Determined to enter their son’s inner world and to use the opportunity to help other students at the same time, Viola decided to start FSAI and create the 4LittleTrees Ai learning platform in 2017 with her Dutch husband, Matthijs Dolsma.
4LittleTrees uses the camera of a smart device, coupled with AI and big data technology, to analyse a student’s emotional state and learning motivation when the student completes each exercise. The system allows teachers to keep track of a student’s learning experience in real time, and it can even forecast the student’s performance in exams.
“Cyberport has given us tremendous support from funding and hiring to market expansion to help us launch the business so that we can help more students to learn and grow.”
After launching 4LittleTrees, Viola met a Japanese angel investor through a Cyberport pitching event and raised her first round of capital. Since then, FSAI has obtained many promotional opportunities through Cyberport’s business matching service and media connections. The company has now expanded into other Asian markets and is servicing not only schools but also corporate training.
Recalling her start-up journey, Viola said that her son’s condition and her aspiration to modernise education tugged at her heartstrings and motivated her to take the first step. This pull to venture was further intensified when Viola’s husband joined her to launch and develop the business. But, among all of the factors, Viola said that the courage to be creative was the most important.