Edison Duran is an AR & Ed-Tech entrepreneur. He is CEO and founder of PleIQ, a smart toy.
Edison Durán: Education
• 2014, Carabobo University, Diploma in City Management
• 2008, Central University of Venezuela, Master Degree in Theoretical Physics
• 2006, Carabobo University, Bachelor Degree in Physics
Edison Durán: Early days
Edison Durán studied physics and urban planning. He specialized as an astrophysicist, but in 2013 he decided to turn his career to become a technology entrepreneur in an area that was not yet well known in Venezuela: Augmented Reality. Edison started with a venture called Singular Augmented Reality that obtained the support of Wayra and Start-Up Chile. The company attracted the attention of large companies such as Pepsi-Cola and MercadoLibre, who sponsored the project.
Singular took advantage of augmented reality to offer marketing services to companies. Although the startup started quite successfully, Edison noted that the company’s business model was not scalable. Also, he and his team were concerned about achieving a social impact on the technology they developed.
Edison Durán: Career
Edison Durán felt that it would be a good idea to create a product designed for preschool education. He realized how younger children showed a lot of interest in Augmented Reality, even when the products were not designed for them. That’s how in 2016 he decided to found PleIQ.
Edison noted that most education ventures were focused on the upper levels. However, preschool education is the period that has the most impact on the formation of a person because of the number of neural connections created at that age. Studies show that 20-year-olds who had access to early and high-quality education tend to have a higher Intellectual Coefficient (CI) and earn higher incomes.
With this in mind, Edison developed a smart toy to foster the multiple intelligences of the kids and, at the same time, solving a common problem in Latin America. In the region, less than two-thirds of children receive education in the first stage. The rapid penetration of smartphones and tablets will soon have more children on the continent with a mobile device than with preschool education.
PleIQ is a toy with a physical and a digital part. The physical part consists of a set of eight cubes with numbers and letters, while the digital element is a mobile application compatible with smartphones and tablets. With augmented reality, each image of the cube becomes an interactive 3D figure.
Edison Durán: Distinctions
Edison Durán: Other facts
In addition to being a smart toy, PleIQ is a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform that allows parents and teachers to monitor children’s cognitive development while they play. The platform offers metrics on learning and performance reports that gives personalized suggestions.
After developing a prototype, PleIQ raised capital for the mass production of the product. In 2017, PleIQ began to be distributed in schools in Chile and reached agreements with distributors in Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico to market the product at the end of the year.
Thanks to PleIQ, the MIT Technology Review in Spanish selected Edison Durán as one of the Innovators under 35 Latin America 2017. The International Junior Chamber named him as one of the Ten Outstanding Young People of Venezuela.