Toronto-based software company eSSENTIAL Accessibility (eA) has secured a nearly $67 million CAD ($55 million USD) investment from New York-based investor KKR as it looks to scale its digital accessibility solution.
The round, which eA referred to as an “historic investment in the digital accessibility technology sector,” follows a growing reliance on online services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As our dependency on digital connection increases, inclusive experiences have never been more critical.”
-Mark Steele, eA
“As our dependency on digital connection increases, inclusive experiences have never been more critical – a need we are laser-focused on addressing,” said Mark Steele, eA’s co-founder and CEO.
eA offers an “accessibility-as-a-service” platform. The company’s software aims to ensure digital assets, including websites, mobile apps, and software products, provide a seamless online user experience for individuals with disabilities.
Ultimately, eA aims to help organizations achieve and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements. Steele said the fresh funding will enable eA to scale its tech, processes, and human expertise to meet “increasing demand for accessible online content” and better support its customers.
“eSSENTIAL Accessibility provides companies with a complete platform of technology capabilities, user experience design and DevOps integrations, subject matter experts, legal guidance and training, helping them become truly accessible to people with disabilities,” said Ben Pederson, principal at KKR.
KKR’s investment comes through its Next Generation Technology Growth Fund II, which is dedicated to making growth equity investments in tech firms.
In January 2020, eA secured about $19.4 million CAD ($16 million USD) in growth funding in an investment round led by Lead Edge Capital. The company’s latest round comes just over a month before the June 30 deadline for some Ontario businesses and nonprofits, as well as all public sector organizations, to submit an Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance report.
The AODA legislation, which is part of the province’s goal to make Ontario accessible by 2025, requires companies with over 20 employees to submit a compliance report that addresses accessibility standards pertaining to customer service, access to information, public transportation, and employment and outdoor public spaces.
According to eA, the company’s accessibility platform addresses “the urgent demand for a comprehensive, sustainable solution” on this front.