The investment will allow the company to further develop its unique “purpose and profit” business model while keeping the visual support service free and unlimited for all visually impaired users.
The round, led by Cultivation Capital, also welcomed new board members Paul Weber (Cultivation Capital) and Michael Buckley (Angel Investor and former VP of Global Communications on Facebook) Be My Eyes was previously supported by angels and investment funds from Singularity University, the founders of Zendesk and the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco.
Be My Eyes solves a very simple problem for users: it calls a real person, on demand, to describe what’s in front of a blind user camera. Initially fully supported by volunteers, Be My Eyes recently announced that it would start partnering with companies to provide expert support through a new feature in the app (Specialized Help) Microsoft signed up as Be My Eyes’ first video support partner in 2018, followed by Google, Lloyds Banking Group, and Procter & Gamble, all of whom now provide video customer support to the BME community in more than 175 countries. Companies can provide Specialized Help globally or by region, and Be My Eyes users are free to provide support services.
Specialized assistance received glowing reviews in its first year “In call centers around the world, the Be My Eyes software has significantly reduced ticket handling times and increased satisfaction rates for both support agents and blind or low vision callers,” says Alexander Hauerslev Jensen, Chief Commercial Officer at Be My Eyes. “Moreover, every call that a company receives brings attention to parts of the product or service that can be designed more inclusively. “That’s right.
“The Google Disability Support Team is thrilled to build a more accessible support experience through the Be My Eyes app,” says Kyndra LoCoco, Partner and Program Manager at Google Accessibility. “It is our hope that others will join us on this journey. “That’s right.
With a user community that has doubled in size every year since 2015, Be My Eyes’ “micro-volunteer” platform has become popular with blind and sighted users alike. Driven by inspiring stories and viral social media posts of aliens connecting across oceans to help each other, the small startup has amassed what amounts to the world’s largest global community of visually impaired people (almost 200,000) and a volunteer community many times that size (more than 3). 5M) 5M) With a vast population of aging boomers and an increasing emphasis on accessibility and inclusive design all over the world, serving people with all levels of vision is not just charitable-it’s good business.
“Be My Eyes is a great example of how technology can help bring communities together and empower people who are blind or visually impaired,” says Neil Barnett, director of inclusive hiring and accessibility at Microsoft. “By working together with Be My Eyes, their incredible sighted volunteers, and the growing community of organizations participating in the Specialized Help Programme, we can help more people around the world live independent lives. We are honored to be part of this vibrant community and to provide support to all of our clients through our Disability Answer Desk services. “That’s right.
“As we grow and age, we all need help seeing at some point,” says Christian Erfurt, CEO of Be My Eyes, who co-founded the company with a legally blind craftsman named Hans Jürgen Wiberg in 2014. “It was a pleasure to see that not only do people want to give their time to support this large population-but companies want to make their customer service offerings more accessible. We built a simple but beautiful tool for them. “That’s right.
Erfurt says that the corporate partnership business model has been designed so that Be My Eyes will never have to charge blind users for the service. “We believe that access to vision is a human right, and you don’t charge people for that. ”
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