Innovation? A software, Lexibaraimed at learning support professionals for people with a language disorder such as dyslexia or dysorthographia.
Haylem, the small Terrebonne company behind the software Lexibar, it is first and foremost a family story. In 2007, Francis Haynes graduated in electrical engineering from the École de technologie supérieure. Her youngest brother, Éric, dropped out of school, struggling with dyslexia and dysorthographia who were later diagnosed. Francis Haynes founded Haylem in 2008 and set out to tackle this problem by designing specialized software, developed in collaboration with speech therapists over five years. The software, Lexibaris ready in 2013. Francis’ father helps market the product until his death in 2020. His sister, Karine, trained in management, takes the reins as general manager in October 2021.
Francis is still the president and is particularly dedicated to software development. Haylem has about ten employees. “It’s not a lot, but they are very efficient, engineers, programmers, marketing people, accounting people, at the reception”, specifies Mme Haynes.
Lexibar is software with five help functions for those who have difficulty reading and writing. It includes a voice synthesis module, a spell checker, a spelling predictor, a phonetic predictor and an illustration module.
Essentially, the software is busy identifying writing errors, proposing corrections and showing, with supporting images, the correct pronunciation. Lexibar is primarily intended for professionals such as speech therapists, but it can be downloaded, with the acquisition of a license, “by any parent who seeks help for his child, or the adult who seeks help for him -even,” explains Mr.me Haynes.
The niche is “7 to 17 years old”, especially for primary and secondary school students. “Our first version dates from 2013. Our students who started using it have gone to CEGEP, so we are starting to have sales in CEGEPs and universities. We grow with our students. »
Karine Haynes estimates that 87% of schools in Quebec use Lexibarwhich also appeared in France.
“It’s an expert product, we know that it’s help software that is normally accompanied by a professional. But we offer training when it is purchased. At Haylem, it is claimed that 91% of users see great improvements in handwriting after using it. The basic license costs $45 for three months, for two installs, or $299 for a one-time purchase.
According to the general manager, Lexibar is very innovative, especially for two of its functions, the illustrations and the phonetic predictor. “It didn’t exist on the market, this tool developed in French for Francophones. »
Like any business whose product relies on technology, the main challenge is constant development. “We want to release the best product that meets the demand of professionals, says Mme Haynes. The challenge is to improve from version to version. We release a version every four years, we just launched the LP5X last October. It’s a nice update. »
The Executive Director also reports that speech therapists had difficulty gaining access to Lexibar within schools, because of the formula of rented licenses per user.
Since last October, Haylem has been offering a new formula to counter this availability problem: offering subscriptions not per user, but for all the establishments of a school service centre. As these subscriptions are currently under negotiation, Mme Haynes does not disclose pricing.
“With a subscription, it’s much easier. The service center has a budget that is always the same, easier to predict. And he has access to the current version and those that will come. »
The next version, precisely, the 6, “should arrive in two years” and will take advantage of artificial intelligence. “Without wanting to make any promises, we are already building it. »
While there is still a market to be explored in Quebec, Ontario presents great opportunities for Lexibar. And after France, where distribution is going well, we are targeting other French-speaking European countries such as Switzerland and Belgium. “We could even go further, to Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon, Senegal, in the distant future, but it is possible. »