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Thyagi DeLanerolle

OOt is revolutionizing the future of work. As hybrid environments become the new norm, we’re dedicated to eradicating workplace loneliness and fostering a vibrant, interconnected culture. Through cutting-edge data visualization, we don’t just connect employees—we bring them face-to-face based on shared passions through a public venue double opt-in process. From community discovery on our dynamic social maps to organizing intimate meet-ups and empowering leaders with data-driven insights, OOt emphasizes the undeniable power of genuine, face-to-face human connections. Join us on our mission to cultivate a world rich in empathy, understanding, and shared experiences—starting with the place you work. Because at OOt, we believe in transforming workplaces, one meaningful connection at a time.

Tell us about yourself?

Thyagi’s rise in the corporate world began shortly after college when she became an Executive Director for a significant lobby group at just 22. Her leadership qualities propelled her through Bell Canada and then to Cogeco, leaving an indelible mark in Canadian telecommunications. However, telecommunications was only a part of her journey. She ventured into consulting and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), providing transformative solutions to enterprises. Salesforce, the global CRM leader, took notice of her unparalleled sales-hunting abilities, which gave way to another chapter. Despite her corporate achievements, the entrepreneurial siren call beckoned. This led to the birth of OOt, a groundbreaking human connectivity platform, co-founded with Paul Gries, a professor from the University of Toronto. OOt, a reflection of Thyagi’s spiritual foundations, aims to weave genuine, face-to-face connections in our increasingly digitized world.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

When you’re launching something new, it’s a bit like the chicken and egg dilemma: Do you focus on perfecting the product first or attracting customers? The truth is, you need both to succeed. Start by building relationships and making allies in your industry. These connections can vouch for you, helping you gain the trust of potential customers or partners. Word-of-mouth and personal recommendations can be powerful tools in the early stages, as people are more likely to trust a familiar source. By building and leveraging these relationships, not only will you build credibility, but you’ll also set a strong foundation for quicker growth. In the end, it’s about building trust and momentum side by side.

OOt Social Health

What problem does your business solve?

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declared a loneliness epidemic earlier this year. More than six in 10 young people report feeling seriously lonely frequently. Loneliness causes severe health issues – being chronically lonely is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Enterprises are finding that loneliness lowers productivity and increases absenteeism, and they are seeking solutions. Both within the workplace and in the larger community, people struggle to find meaningful human connections.

Over the last two years, we have done significant research to identify the problem and potential ways to address it. The OOt app, currently in early beta, is designed to make it easier for people to connect face-to-face.

The market is large. In the US alone, loneliness costs businesses more than $154 billion annually in lost productivity. Companies in employee engagement, such as Ten Thousand Coffees, charge $10/mo per employee for a virtual mentorship platform and virtually does not address loneliness and workplace engagement nearly as well as face-to-face.

Further, these solutions only work within a company, doing nothing to help people find human connection outside the workplace – which helps people build social capital in their non-work contexts while also improving workplace productivity. OOt encourages this, and once we have established ourselves in the enterprise, we have plans to spread to the consumer market, helping everyone connect better.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

In 2017, when Thyagi relocated to downtown Toronto, she grappled with intense feelings of isolation. With her close friends outside the city, forming new connections felt like approaching total strangers blindly. She identified a gap in the technology world: the lack of focus on proximity, interests, and clear intentions. When the pandemic hit, these familiar feelings of loneliness returned. Thyagi recognized this wasn’t just her personal challenge but a wider societal issue, even evident in workplaces where we spend a significant portion of our lives. This realization sowed the seeds for OOt.

What is your magic sauce?

While many platforms focus on virtual employee engagement, none prioritize face-to-face social visualization tools. OOt stands out by offering a comprehensive solution to loneliness, addressing both workplace and home environments. Social anxiety often stems from a fear of negative evaluation, leading many to prefer asynchronous online interactions, like social media and emails, where they feel less pressured to respond immediately. However, avoiding real-time interactions is concerning because a significant 70 to 90 per cent of communication is non-verbal. These non-verbal cues, like nods and sighs, play a vital role in understanding emotions and building trust. Avoiding face-to-face interactions also means missing out on crucial practice in reading these cues, which is essential for fostering deep social connections.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

OOt offers two primary features designed for in-person connections: OOt Connections, for one-on-one interactions, and OOt HangOOts, for group meet-ups. These are ideal for workplaces, events, universities, newcomers to cities, and tourists. Incorporating AI, OOt plans to introduce chat moderation, context-specific conversation prompts, and smart notifications for connections, events, and hangouts. A standout offering is the social data visualization tool that acts like a “social weather forecast,” guiding users on when and where they can meet like-minded individuals. This unique feature positions OOt distinctively, and it will be pivotal when the platform transitions to the consumer market in a year’s time.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

OOt, often perceived as a mere social media platform, is truly pioneering the realm of social health, a burgeoning facet of wellness poised alongside physical and mental health. While the concept of social health is still gaining traction, OOt is at the forefront of fostering meaningful face-to-face connections. By enriching social ties, OOt aims to bridge the gaps in our increasingly disconnected world, ushering in a new era of connectedness and community well-being.

How can people get involved?

Visit our website at or contact us at 647-948-5777