Cognitive machine learning for early childhood development: the Gazouyi start-up takes off

Changed on 29/11/2021
A mobile app to help guide parents in their child’s development and well-being... this is the challenge of Gazouyi, a start-up created within the CoML joint team in Paris and supported by Inria Startup Studio.


The Gazouyi project first came about in a corridor in the Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Science Laboratory (LSCP), renowned for its studies on infant development. Victor D’herbemont, then a final-year student intern in the CoML* (Cognitive Machine Learning) team, met Xuan-Nga Cao, a research engineer in the same team. Like many parents, the latter had had lots of doubts with the arrival of her first child. At the time, she wondered how she could use the results of scientific research to answer these questions and help other parents looking for the right information about their child’s development.


Taking an interest in child development should not be something complicated, reserved for a small number of cultured or better educated families. Through Gazouyi, we want to make it accessible, fun and above all useful in helping parents better understand their child’s everyday life, emotions and reactions.


Victor D’herbemont


CEO and CTO of Gazouyi

The project’s name, Gazouyi, came naturally. 

"Gazouillis” is the French word for the spontaneous noises made by infants. They are babies' first attempts at communicating with their environment. It is also a reference to Xuan-Nga's discipline, linguistics 

Xuan-Nga Cao : Xuan-Nga completed a PhD in Linguistics at the City University of New York and currently works part time on Gazouyi as Director of the learning module. She is also co-founder of LangInnov, a New York-based start-up that develops assessments for bilingual students. The start-up was awarded SBIR funding by the National Science Foundation.

Victor D'herbemont works on Gazouyi full time as CEO and CTO. He is a specialist machine learning (Artificial Intelligence) engineer for development modelling. 

Support from Inria Startup Studio: a catalyst

In January 2020 the founders contacted the Technology Transfer, Innovation and Partnerships Department in Paris, the local branch of the national Inria Startup Studio scheme, to turn their idea into a proposition with more concrete value.


Inria was a catalyst for the Gazouyi project. We are very happy and proud to have been part of Inria Startup Studio, which really is the best early stage support system in France for scientific companies.


Victor D'herbemont


CEO and CTO of Gazouyi

The team is developing a learning module composed of two main complementary parts:

  • Professionally designed activities, each associated with one of the 300 levels of child development between birth and five years of age. These activities don’t require any equipment and never involve the use of a telephone: the children are not in contact with the screens, the aim being to discover the early childhood process in a safe family environment.
  • A recommendation engine proposes a selection of activities that correspond to the child’s individual needs every week.

Inria Startup Studio 

Inria Startup Studio gives project owners, from Inria project teams, all the cards to start creating a digital Deeptech startup. With a goal: 100 Deeptech startup projects each year by 2023! 

Discover all about ISS

Victor explains how the application works:

It is based on active teaching strategies and uses the activities already completed by the family (or not) as input. The more time the family spends on the activities, the more we are able to offer them content adapted to their everyday life

Victor D'herbemont, Gazouyi project, "Mon projet prend vie", series in French from Inria Startup Studio, on Inria Channel, Youtube, November 24, 2020.

Gazouyi, a guide in the adventure of parenthood

Allowing educational continuity, improving confidence and skills through play, preventing the need for lengthy research on online or in books on early childhood... these are the challenges that Gazouyi aims to address. Surrounded by a network of mentors, experts and early childhood professionals (speech therapist, linguist, psychomotor therapist etc.), the start-up has also developed a partnership with the French Association of Ambulatory Paediatrics (AFPA), whose website Mpedia is a point of reference in the field.

© Gazouyi

In time, our challenge is to improve Gazouyi to be able to support children with specific needs (such as children with developmental disorders) as well as parents experiencing difficulties (stress, depression) to help everyone grow together


Salomé Bannon


COO and cofounder of Gazouyi

Content available now

Gazouyi is very active on social media and shares quizzes on early childhood, interviews with professionals and articles for non scientists on the latest results from the scientific community via its Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The mobile app, released in January 2021, is available for free on all platforms.  

From a scientific point of view, Gazouyi aims to provide insight and make key discoveries about how children grow each day and develop, or on how parenting affects a child’s future, topics on which the startup is also working with the Institute of Psychology at the University of Paris and the School Social Work at the University of Montreal.


*Joint CoML team between EHESS, ENS, the CNRS and Inria Paris, at the intersection between cognitive and computer science. 

© Gazouyi


Whether you're a parent, a daycare center or a company, discover Gazouyi, the application that combines scientific research and educational development.