When Ross Linnett found the tools to make websites accessible to him didn’t exist, he decided to create it, and with the help of Northstar Ventures he’s making it a success.
What did you do before you started this business?
I ran a web development company.
What inspired you to start up?
I struggled with dyslexia all my life and I was only diagnosed when I was 22 - a year after I graduated (I missed out on a free laptop at university!) When I finally got the software to help with my dyslexia, it changed my life. But it only worked on one computer and wasn’t with me every minute of the day.
I had a degree but I couldn’t access information on anyone’s website, and I thought ‘why are companies not doing anything so I can actually read their websites?’ (They were missing out on a potential customer!) When I realised that the reason was that the technology didn’t exist, I decided to create the technology.
Tell us about your business in 100 words
Recite is an online Accessibility/Content customisation toolkit that is sold to companies to help make their websites more accessible. Companies are often unaware that their websites miss out on 25% of the market, including users with visual impairments, dyslexia or English as a second language. Features of Recite include allowing the website to speak, magnification of text and font/background changes.
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
Hey Grandma, you know when you use the magnifying glass because you can’t see very well? That’s what we do for websites automatically, plus many more features!
Where do you get advice, support or help?
I draw on my investors for help and guidance.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
We have been lucky to have brilliant investors - Northstar Ventures, Steve Nelson and Brad Holbrook. They have been very very supportive and have backed the company, allowing it to be a success.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
It’s probably being invited to China with the Chancellor as part of a trade mission and being the only person invited back to accompany the Prime Minister on a second trade mission. Also meeting the Queen!
How do you differentiate your business from others?
We are a clear market leader in our sector with regards to technology; we have more features that allow websites to reach a previously ignored audience.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
It’s great, you are master of your own destiny. However sometimes you do get decision/responsibility fatigue. When I’m with my friends I like to take a backseat and let other people make the decisions!
Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time?
Recite will be in more international markets and have more products helping the world become more accessible. And more importantly we will have educated the world that everybody needs to do something about online accessibility.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Choose a mission that is bigger than yourself, that ignites your passion. Then you’ll relish the 12 hour days! Our mission is to make the world’s content accessible…. what’s your passion??