Recite Me nets return backing from Northstar Ventures as it banks on legislation demands

Northstar Ventures' Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund has backed a Gateshead-based company which helps those who are dyslexic and visually impaired use the internet.

Recite Me has attracted an investment of £225,000 to go with the £100,000 it received two years ago.

Regional backer Northstar Ventures has again led the round through its Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund, a fund which invests in high growth, ‘innovative’ early-stage businesses with commitments of between £100,000 and £500,000.

As part of the deal, angel investor Steve Nelson has joined the board of the business as it looks to expand its operations.

Recite Me cites research which finds that some 15 per cent of the population are excluded from using the internet due to visual impairment, literacy issues and learning difficulties, as a validation of the business.

The business was founded by Ross Linnett, who discovered he had dyslexia while at university.

‘I founded the company as a means of creating a solution to a problem I and others have when using the internet – 86 per cent of websites are not accessible to people with low levels of visual impairment or dyslexia,’ Linnett explains.

‘We have the ability to fix that, instantly, using innovative cloud-based software.’

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Northstar Ventures’ funding has allowed Recite Me to attend a recent UKTI ‘trade mission’ to New York. The business also made a similar visit to Australia earlier in 2012.

Rebecca Crawford, investment manager at Northstar Ventures, says that companies such as Australia are implementing legislation which makes the kind of accessibility Recite Me is providing obligatory.

She adds, ‘In the early days of the internet, companies could rely on the fact that many with these issues downloaded software of bought assistive technology products to help them use computers.

‘But times have changed. Brands can no longer take the risk and rely on the hope that people still have and use this kind of legacy technology.’

The £20 million Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank, and is part of the £125 million Finance for Business North East Fund.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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Early Stage Funding