Why we've raised $58 Million and how we are investing it

Shir EkerlingCEO at accessiBe

TL; DR – We raised $58M to support the disability community to educate the world about the importance of including people with disabilities, and, to help the business community ensure that their digital assets are accessible, inclusive, and provide an excellent experience to all users. With or without disabilities.

The internet is one of humankind’s greatest inventions. It simplifies our lives dramatically and provides us with instant access to knowledge, opportunities, social connections, products, goods, and services. To most of us, it’s almost unthinkable to be closed off from the internet and lose access to its many benefits. Just the thought of living in today’s world without our smartphones, laptop, and internet access is unbearable. Let alone actually living like so. For many people with disabilities, unfortunately, this is the reality. 

Website creation tools and advancing programming languages have helped popularize the internet by enabling the smallest business owners to build websites themselves that often don’t fall from tech giants’. It’s so simple to build websites. Hundreds of millions of them have not been created by coders but by business owners almost automatically, with pre-built templates, plugins, and drag-and-drop editors.

But with this simplicity comes a big hurdle. Those websites are not accessible to people with disabilities and haven’t been designed with accessibility in the process. Most websites are built to be used with a mouse or a touch screen, not with assistive technologies like screen readers and keyboards, which many people with disabilities use to access and operate their computers.

The web accessibility gap

This has been the case for decades and is one of the biggest reasons for what we call the “Web Accessibility Gap.” There are hundreds of millions of active websites, but fewer than three percent have been designed and created with accessibility as a material part (if any at all) of the process.

This gap is so large and is growing larger every day. A massive change needs to happen in order to flip the situation around in an acceptable timeframe. And this is exactly why we’ve extended our funding round, bringing it to a total of $58 million.

Our mission has always been to work with the disability community to make the internet accessible and inclusive. With $58M, we have the resources to support the massive undertaking of solving the web accessibility gap through education and technology.

Our approach to addressing the web accessibility gap

  • Developing tools like accessFlow, for developing with native accessibility. Businesses with R&D and product teams, as well as professional web design and development communities, need tools to help them incorporate accessibility natively into the source of their applications and websites without doubling the workload.

  • Massive awareness and education programs like accessCulture. Education on disability, accessibility, inclusion, and the disability justice framework should be widespread and free. Actively supporting inclusion is a decision. But this decision can only be made if one fully understands the importance of inclusion through massive education led by the disability community, supported by us.

  • Teaching web professionals using accessCampus, to design and build inclusively. Design and coding for inclusive access can seem daunting when needing to learn about these aspects by researching the difficult-to-read Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Designers, developers, and product managers have thousands of fantastic, easy-to-follow tutorials and online resources for every aspect of their work. But for learning accessibility, there are very few and not as high quality as in other aspects of the web ecosystem. accessCampus will change that and enable everyone in the professional web ecosystem to learn how to incorporate accessibility into their software lifecycle. accessCampus will help web professionals fully understand assistive technology, inclusive design, planning apps for inclusivity, coding for accessibility, user testing, and more.

We couldn’t be more excited to see how to future unfolds and are eager to see how much better our world will be when it’s inclusive to everyone!