We talked to Danielle Brants on how Árvore is a universe for children and young people to explore, and this is what she had to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Danielle Brants: Despite all the stress, anxiety, and challenges, we are all ok. From a personal perspective, we had to find our inner strengths to deal with such a different environment full of risks, anxiety, and new ways of working, having relationships, and showing our vulnerabilities. From an operational perspective, it was/is a moment in which our company has found our team’s power: everyone caring for each other, even in a 100% remote scenario since march. Relationships got stronger. Our company mission to bring digital reading to all Brazil students got even more substantial and is everyone’s focus, even in the most challenging times. We became important partners to schools and educators during the pandemic and remote learning. This has helped us by bringing clarity of purpose and resilience to all team members.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Árvore?
Danielle Brants: After working for almost ten years in the financial market, I founded Guten in 2014 to help Brazilian educators bring more interactive and engaging reading experiences to students. In 2019, Guten joined forces with Arvore de Livros, and we became, together, Árvore. Today, we help educators across Brazil and impact almost 2 million students in the country.
How does Árvore innovate?
Danielle Brants: We bring digital reading solutions to schools across Brazil, democratizing access to books, and providing essential student engagement tools. Our platform is gamified and has an attractive environment to awaken the taste for reading in children and young people. Also, our solutions generate reading data so that educators can monitor the development of their students.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Danielle Brants: With the pandemic, the digitalization of education has become crucial for schools that, even without being 100% prepared, had to migrate to remote education. We have been able to help thousands of schools to continue their work. We had an increase of more than 500% in our user base in this year of 2020 due to this context, and we continue to work hard to support our partner schools.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Danielle Brants: We observed a robust growth in reading engagement during the pandemic: schools started looking for platforms that could help students during remote learning times. We had to make decisions to grow our team and our operations even in a scenario of enormous uncertainty since we did not know what would happen in the concise future. After an initial moment of paralysis and surprise, we decided to take steps to grow in this uncertain global and economic scenario. My analysis is that we took the right risks and had very positive results so far: we brought more people to our team, invested more, grew our client base, and learned how to take care of our team members, clients, and students in this new scenario.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Danielle Brants: I focus on doing my best at work and providing a supportive and caring environment for the team. On a personal level, I use sports as my key strategy to decompress daily.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Danielle Brants: The EdTech market has grown a lot in Brazil due to an increasing trend to bring technology and innovation to schools. I believe that, after the covid-19 pandemic, this trend will be bigger. At Árvore, we continue to work in a humanized way, betting on our differentials and always working in partnership with the educators and schools.
Your final thoughts?
Danielle Brants: Brazil has a considerable literacy gap, and more than ever, inequalities are increasing in education. At Arvore, we have this clear mission of bringing reading to Brazilian students at an affordable price, with a great digital experience and support to educators and learning. We have a massive mission in front of us, and we are, more than ever, energized to accelerate and grow our impact even more.