On Independence Day 2016, Anand Chowdhary, Nishant Gadihoke, and Mahendra Singh Raghuwanshi founded Oswald Foundation, an accessibility technology company with the mission to break barriers to modern technology. From building a small Chrome extension in a 30-hour hackathon that allows people with dyslexia to read websites easily, they are now a profitable startups with three products used by thousands of users, in just ten months.
Oswald Foundation has three products, Agastya, Shravan, and Valmiki. Agastya is a web accessibility plug-in that can be added to any website to make it disabled-friendly, and includes special features like a dyslexia-friendly mode, text reading aloud for the visually impaired, and color contrast customization options. Shravan is the first smartphone for the differently abled, and includes a patent-pending vibrational and speech interface for the blind. It also has Digital India features like built-in Aadhaar and UPI, and works in 25+ native Indian languages. Valmiki is a dyslexia and visually impaired-friendly web browser addon.
Back in November, Oswald Foundation emerged as one of the five winners of Startup India Rocks! 2016, the largest startup competiton with over 1,000 Indian startups. “Oswald is trying to address a key social issue with a unique yet simplistic approach that makes it relevant for the mass population of the country. At the same time they can replicate the technology across devices and platform which opens up a huge market for them globally,” said Mandar Gadkari, APAC & MEA Head of Cross Border Angels.
This August, Oswald Foundation is planning on setting up their first business center in the city of Enschede, an innovative and entrepreneurial city on the border of the Netherlands and Germany, Anand Chowdhary told BW Disrupt. “The Netherlands is the Gateway to Europe, and since our products are developed for a global audience with internationalization built-in, we’re going to move our primary sales to the Europe and continue to do support and development here in New Delhi.”
The EU’s Web and Mobile Accessibility Directive and the United States’ American with Disabilities Act make it compulsory for websites to be accessible to persons with disabilities, and Oswald Foundation’s product Agastya does just that. India, unfortunately, does not have any such legal requirements, so the opportunity is tremendous in the global market for their products. Anand Chowdhary has confirmed that he will be moving to the Netherlands this August to build a local team to target the European and American market.
Previously, Oswald Foundation became the first Indian company to be incubated in the London/ Berlin-based EyeFocus Accelerator program, the world’s only program for startups that build technology for the blind. “Not only is their product of great interest and value to society, it is great to see such a young, dynamic team acting so professionally. They are a great example to others of how to focus skill and energy into entrepreneurship and helping people in society,” said Tobias Stone, the founder of EyeFocus Accelerator.
It’s incredible to see all of this from a 10 month-old company founded by teenagers as part of a hackathon. Oswald Foundation continues to be a leader in research and development of disabled-friendly technology, plans on changing the lives of millions of users by the end of this year.