Vision impairment is a prevalent health problem worldwide. According to WHO (World Health Organisation), the number of people of all ages visually impaired is estimated to be 285M globally, of whom 39M are blind.
One of the biggest obstacles with this problem is the decreased mobility and difficulties in discovering and getting around new and unfamiliar environments.
Based out of the Hague, Envision aims to empower visually impaired people to become more independent through its AI assistive technology.
The Dutch company recently raised €1.5M from investors including, 4impact, ABN AMRO, Hungary-based Impact Ventures, and strategic investors from Operator.Exchange.
In addition to the professional institutional investors, Envision adds 4 investors from Operator.Exchange, a group of angel investors who have founded or built fast-growing startups.
The investors include Mark de Lange of Ace & Tate, Lucas Meijer of Unity, Paul Veugen of Usabilla, and Sanne Manders of Flexport. In addition to their investment, these operators bring a wealth of strategic experience and advice.
The funding will be used to scale up their team in the Hague, expand the R&D team and marketing activities to further enhance the sales of the app and the glasses through a network of distributors around the world.
Software that assists
Founded in late 2017 by Karthik Mahadevan and Karthik Kannan, Envision’s AI-powered software extracts different types of information from images and speaks them out loud, enabling blind and low-vision users to do activities independently.
The company’s software can read all kinds of text, including digital and handwritten text, newspaper, books, and product labels, in more than 60 languages, recognise faces, describe scenes, detect colors, find objects, and so much more.
Envision’s AI software is available in two different variants – an assistive smart glasses as embedded, hands-free technology (currently in partnership with Google Glass with an ability to add different smart glasses in the future), and as an iOS and Android smartphone app.
Used in 200 countries
Right now, the product is being used in more than 200 countries and the Company is adding new distributors in all corners of the world on a monthly basis. Further, the Netherlands company contributes to the United Nations’ SDG 3 (Good health and wellbeing), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities).
Karthik Mahadevan, the co-founder and CEO, Envision, says “We are excited to enter into this new phase where we can accelerate our mission of making all kinds of visual information accessible to everyone. We are just at the beginning of what is possible and the new partners and resources have now provided us with fuel to launch this product to its full potential.”