Essential Accessibility merges with Level Access to combine accessibility solutions

Man using computer
The combined firm will be based in the US, retaining offices in Toronto and Argentina.

Toronto-based software startup Essential Accessibility has merged with American tech company Level Access. The consolidation was initially announced in June.

Private equity firm KKR was the lead investor in the merger, through its technology growth fund. KKR previously invested $55 million into Essential Accessibility last year, and will continue to support the combined entity alongside Level Access investor JMI Equity. The amount of funding invested into the consolidated organization was not disclosed.

Led by CEO Mark Steele, Essential Accessibility offers what it describes as an “Accessibility-as-a-Service” platform, enabling brands to deliver inclusive web, mobile, and product experiences that comply with global regulations.

In 2020, Essential Accessibility closed a $16 million USD investment round led by Lead Edge Capital.

In addition to its head office in Toronto, Essential Accessibility has locations in New York and São Paulo. According to the startup’s LinkedIn page, it has a workforce of around 190 employees.

As a result of the consolidation, the combined entity will be headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, where Level Access’ headquarters is located. The combined company also expects to invest in the growth of key offices in Toronto and Argentina.

Steele has been appointed president of the merged organization, while Level Access founder and CEO Tim Springer will serve as the CEO of the combined company.

With Essential Accessibility and Level Access’ merger, the two companies aim to create a platform for end-to-end digital accessibility management to accelerate the adoption of digital accessibility.

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An increasing number of laws and regulations have been applied to enforce digital accessibility. In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act is often applied to websites, mobile apps, and other digital experiences.

For Canada’s part, the country passed the Accessible Canada Act in 2019, giving powers to the Government of Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency, and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to create new legal requirements to advance federal accessibility.

“In our digitally driven world, online engagement is more important than ever, making equal access to digital experiences a fundamental human right,” said Steele.

“For this reason, more organizations are committing to, and investing in digital accessibility. And whether they’ve never prioritized it, or have struggled with sustainable results, our combined company will provide the premier solution to support a long-term accessibility program,” he added.

Featured image from Essential Accessibility’s website.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and a staff writer for BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter @charlizealcaraz

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