Envision raises € 1.5 million to scale their award-winning AI-powered app and smart glasses for the blind and visually impaired

Envision is the award-winning AI-powered technology company that gives blind and partially sighted people more independence and access to the visual information around them. Their AI-powered software extracts various types of information from images and speaks them out loud, allowing blind and low-vision users to read documents at work, recognize their friends, find personal belongings at home, use public transportation and more – all completely independently.

Envision’s AI-powered software can read all kinds of text, including digital and handwritten text, newspapers, books and product labels, in more than 60 languages, recognize faces, describe scenes, detect colours, search for objects and much more.

Envision’s software is available for use in two different ways: on smart glasses as built-in, hands-free technology (currently in partnership with Google Glass with the option of using other smart glasses in the future) and as a smartphone app for iOS and Android.

The products are currently used in more than 200 countries and the company is adding new distributors every month in all corners of the world. The products are designed together with and for blind and partially sighted people to optimize the user experience. Envision builds on its strong growth momentum and is committed to helping as many people worldwide as possible.

Founded in late 2017 by Karthik Mahadevan and Karthik Kannan, Envision is a privately held company based in The Hague, The Netherlands. Envision contributes to SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities) of the United Nations.

Use of funds
Envision will use the funds to scale their team in The Hague to support their plans and make their products available around the world. They will expand their R&D team to further develop and improve their advanced Artificial Intelligence and make more meaningful visual information accessible to the blind and partially sighted. There will also be an increase in marketing efforts to further improve sales of the app and the glasses through a network of distributors around the world.

Karthik Mahadevan, the Co-Founder and CEO, said: “We are excited to enter 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 our journey and the new partners and resources have now fuelled us to launch this product optimally.”

About the investors
4impact, an impact-focused venture capital company based in The Hague, previously invested in Envision’s first investment round in 2019.

Pauline Wink, the founder of 4impact, says, “The drive, dedication and vision of the Envision team is unmatched and the growth of the company is a testament to their achievement to date. In addition to blind and partially sighted people, Envision’s assistive technology products can cover a much larger market, for example, people with reading difficulties, such as the 700 million people with dyslexia. We are proud to further support Envision in this next growth phase ”

The two new VCs on board are the ABN AMRO Sustainable Impact Fund, ABN AMRO’s new investment fund for sustainable and social impact, and Impact Ventures, an impact fund based in Hungary that believes in the power of social impact that start-ups like Envision can create.

Gergely Ivancsics, Investment Manager at Impact Ventures, commented, “Envision’s excellent and purposeful technology has tremendous potential to expand into even more support functions for blind and partially sighted people around the world. We are delighted to join Envision and support the growth and scale of its social impact.”

Eric Buckens, Investment Director at ABN AMRO Sustainable Impact Fund emphasizes: “We are delighted to join Envision on their promising journey. We believe this team has developed a truly disruptive technology that will help change the lives of so many people around the world. An excellent example of how business goals and impact goals can be combined as part of a sustainable and social transition of the economy.”

In addition to the professional institutional investors, Envision is pleased to add 4 investors from Operator.Exchange, a group of angel investors who founded or built high-growth start-ups. The investors include Mark de Lange from Ace & Tate, Lucas Meijer from Unity, Paul Veugen from Usabilla and Sanne Manders from Flexport. In addition to their investment, these operators bring a wealth of strategic experience and advice.

The investment round includes 3 impact funds – Existing investor 4impact is joined by ABN AMRO Sustainable Impact Fund and Hungary based Impact Ventures, along with strategic investors from Operator.Exchange. Funding will be used to accelerate growth to support as many blind and visually impaired people globally.