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How are humans going to compete with bots and AI down the road? According to child development startup EQtainment, it is emotional and social intelligence that will set us apart.

The Manhattan Beach, California-based startup announced today that it raised $5 million from angel investors to further develop and launch its products, which include an array of shows, music albums, toys, and games to teach kids social and emotional skills.

And though EQtainment’s CEO, former Mattel finance and strategy executive Erica Buxton, says it’s “never too late” to learn these traits, she remarks that acquiring social and emotional intelligence early in life could mean advantages to kids’ development.

“Young students who participated in social emotional learning programs showed an 11 percent gain in academic achievement while also improving classroom behavior and their ability to manage stress,” the company explained.

“Where the future market is going to be, social and emotional skills are key to future professionals,” said Buxton.

Targeting children ages three to 10, EQtainment’s Q Wunder app, which is available on iOS and Android, follows a monkey who faces ethical questions he has to answer with the child’s help. This, Buxton says, takes away the pressure from children, helping them learn to “identify emotions” while “teaching patience.”

EQtainment’s subscription-based service provides kids with new content on a monthly basis for $7.99 a month or $64.99 per year. There is also a free parental portal in which parents can access posts and tools to help kids’ emotional and social development.

EQtainment’s first product launched in spring 2015, with personal capital from the startup’s cofounders Sofia and Reed Dickens. Now, EQtainment expects this capital will fuel its product’s relaunch for the upcoming 2017 back-to-school season.


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