2024 Accelerator AMA Global Startups

Play Video about A headshot of Emma Earley smiling, in a black t-shirt next to a YouTube logo, next to text about an ask me anything session for the Accelerator program with a "Apply Now" button.

The above video is the full recording of the Accelerator AMA Global Startups, it includes sign language interpretation in Auslan, closed captions, with a transcript below.


[00:00] Music starts

[00:08] Voiceover
Many of the greatest technological advances enabling the world right now were originally created by and for people with disabilities.

Remarkable exists to amplify those innovators, to help transform their ideas into revolutionary tools whose benefits are felt universally. Because technology cannot only drive inclusion and equity for people with disabilities, it can do it for everyone.

[00:56] Music
Together we’re unstoppable. Together we’re unstoppable.

[01:10] Voiceover
Remarkable Disability Tech amplifying every human’s potential.

[01:18] Emma Earley, Remarkable
Hi everyone, thank you for joining us. I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we are gathered today and for me that’s the Gadigal and Bidjigal peoples. I pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and we acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and contributions, and we believe we are better together. Thank you so much for being here. It’s the Remarkable Accelerator Ask Me Anything for the Global cohort 2024, I’m so excited.

I’m Emma Earley and I’m the Head of Acceleration programs here at Remarkable. I’m a mid-30s half Filipino woman with long brown hair and I’m proudly wearing a black shirt with a white Remarkable logo. And a note on accessibility for today, this event will have live closed captions that can be accessed in your Zoom toolbar. We also have two wonderful Auslan interpreters joining us and the recording will be available next week with a full transcript.

So what we’ll go through today, a little bit about Remarkable for those of you unacquainted, a lot of detail on all of the benefits that you’ll get from joining our Accelerator program and then some detail on what startups we are looking for and how you can craft a successful application to stand out. And then we’ll throw to you for the opportunity to ask some questions. But to begin, oh actually I’ll make a note if you have questions based on what we’re saying as we go please pop them in the chat so we can try to answer them relevant to what we’re saying but there will also be the opportunity at the end for you to ask other questions. But first for those of you who haven’t met him yet I’d like you to meet Pete Horsley founder of Remarkable.

[03:03] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
(cough) That was terrible start, hi everyone my name is Pete Horsley. I’m today wearing a blue shirt, a blue jacket, a brown hat and some black rimmed glasses, I’m a white 40-some male. It’s really great to have you here and really we’re wanting to answer your questions that you might be able to put in your best forward as you apply for the Accelerator program in 2024. Remarkable started back in 2016 and it was really our mission was trying to accelerate technology, get technology, into the hands of people with disability. As we started to do that we figured that we needed to try and create the ecosystem that sits around that, so investors, other partners. And so really what we’re trying to do is to see technology that actually creates change, creates a greater inclusion, autonomy, independence, access and possibility for people with disability. Over that time we’ve worked now with over a 100 companies, we have seen them go on to create incredible impact in terms of the work that they’ve done. They’ve created over 550 jobs, served over 186,000 customers and attracted a bunch of capital, millions of dollars of capital. And what we’re trying to see happen is that, that this opens up pathways of support for startups and technologies that are at their very earliest stages.

On the screen there’s a, I guess a sideways funnel, that you can see there that actually has a number of different stages. So right from ideation all the way through to scale. And so we have a number of programs and initiatives that we run as part of Remarkable, starting with kind of really trying to kind of bring home the idea that disability has always been a real driver of innovation and many of you are the next crop of innovators coming through. We have just finished our Launcher program, which is a pre-accelerator program, some of you who are on this call were participants in that this year and perhaps even a couple of years ago when we ran it last. Then we have our Accelerator program and Accelerator program really is around commercialisation and this kind of term that we call ‘go-to-market’ so how do you get your products out into the market and into the hands of people who need it most. One of our newer programs is Scaler, that is for Seed to Series A investment. It’s a little bit of terminology from the startup community but essentially for startups that are in market already selling their product and are looking to kind of scale their growth quite quickly. So we we now have a range of programs and supports that sit around that. So if there are any questions specifically on kind of Remarkable as a whole, this is part of, there is another cohort that we call the US cohort as well that will be operating at the same time, so those two cohorts operate in parallel as well. So if there are any questions certainly let me know and I’ll just open up the chat to make sure that I’m seeing that. Otherwise I’ll hand back to you Emma.

[06:45] Emma Earley, Remarkable
Thanks Pete okay so the fun stuff. What makes our Accelerator unique? I’d like to share some Accelerator Commitments and Operating Principles that Molly, who is my US counterpart, and I have worked on. Importantly the hint is in the name, we will accelerate you and we do also expect you to actively accelerate your startup. We will add value and respect your time. We only want to do things that are helping you achieve your startup’s objectives, not just sort of making you attend something for the sake of it. And on that note we will tailor our programming for your startup so that you’ll receive just in time content and just in time connections. So it’s not about a prescriptive program where week one you must do X and week two you must do Y. And community is also really important as well. So this is how we work as a Remarkable team and how we would like our portfolio companies to work as well and that is building in and with the community. And those communities include people with disabilities, your cohort, the both International cohorts, and within your startup team as well. And as far as our Operating Principles go as I’ve said we build our programming around your startups objectives and we evaluate our success in our ability to accelerate you in those particular areas. Then kind of universal and unique to Remarkable is that we want to develop your startup’s understanding of accessibility and inclusion and help you on that learning journey. And with that we really want to prioritise inclusive leadership and your team development, so that can include your team dynamics, and helping set you up for the next stage of growth as you do grow and need to build your team as well.

So what do you gain access to? In short: Coaching and Mentoring; Community, Connections and Network Access; Bespoke Programming across 16 weeks followed by Demo Day and Investment, which is exciting but I’ll go into a bit more detail on each. So Coaching and Mentoring across the 16 weeks ,each team will have a dedicated one-on-one coach who will help set your objectives, help you stay accountable, unblock and troubleshoot any issues you have and connect you to what you need. Then as needed you, that can be supplemented with mentors who are subject matter experts in a particular strategic area that is relevant to you and you can tap into the hundreds of mentors in the Remarkable community. So that is really focused on just-in-time connections to what you need, when you need it. And this is an image of a few of our mentors on the slide. Community and Connections really valuable to help you as founders and startup operators through the program but also help your startup’s journey. So as Pete mentioned we have two international cohorts operating in tandem. I’m leading the Global cohort and that’s for Global startups based outside of the US. And Molly will be leading the US cohort and that’s solely for startups based in the US. You’ll also be able to tap into our Remarkable team, our great network of Coaches, Mentors and Alumni. You’ll be able to access, as relevant, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, our partners and industry contacts, disability community and the wider startup ecosystem as well. So we have a really extensive and engaged network and they are primed to support you on your next stage of growth. So how does our bespoke or tailored programming work? Once we have selected the teams, before the Accelerator kicks off we have one or two Deep Dives per team and that is to really understand your needs, surface any challenges or gaps that you might have, any roadblocks and opportunities for development. And from those Deep Dives we’ll design the programming tailored to your startup’s needs. Then the Accelerator itself runs for 16 weeks from the 17th of June until the 4th of October. So each week you’ll have one-on-one coaching, and then supplement it with mentoring as needed, not necessarily weekly unless that’s really something that you need. Then each week we’ll have two 75 minute sessions, probably on a Tuesday or and Thursday and those 75 minute sessions will be designed from a menu of programming which I’ll explain on the next slide. You’ll have access to Industry Events and other in-person events. And then after the 16 weeks we have a Finisher to sort of wrap up the program with your cohort and prepare for Demo Day, which is currently planned for the 15th and 16th of October in Sydney. Okay so our Menu of Programming. It’s just-in-time content, non-prescriptive. So over those 16 weeks on a Tuesday and Thursday, mid-morning Sydney time, most likely there’ll be a range of sessions that could look like, workshops, masterclasses on particular strategic areas that you they relevant for you, could be a Q&A with a founder, a peer-to-peer learning session or mastermind, could be a panel with investors, could be a Remarkable Roundtable with stakeholders in the disability community or even pitch practice sessions. So some weeks it’ll be the whole cohort working on the same strategic area and will align where possible, but other weeks it might be individual teams or smaller groups working on one of these things, and other weeks it will actually be the full international program of both cohorts attending one of these sessions. So you only need to attend what is relevant to meeting your startups objectives in line with our commitment to add value and accelerate you. But once we do work together in that Deep Dive to design your tailored programming, the expectation is that you are committed to attend all of those sessions. So the time commitment that that looks like is approximately 7 hours a week for Accelerator sessions, coaching, any supplementary mentoring, and deep work you need that week. But the weeks that we do have in-person events it will be a little bit higher than that. So just bear that in mind as you plan. We’ve got some really exciting, and hopefully really useful events and networking opportunities for you. So towards the start we have what we call Kickstart and that is an immersive in-person event with our cohort. Up to you if you’d like to stay with us in our Airbnb or whatever other accessible accommodation that we book. You can also stay in your own accommodation, if preferred. But that’s really for us to come together, set objectives, collaborate with your cohort, your coach and within your own startup team. So if possible your core team should be able to attend that and that’s planned to be in person in Sydney, 2nd to the 4th of July. Then halfway through we have a mid-program catch up with the cohort and you’ll also have the opportunity to exhibit at no cost to you in the Remarkable booth at the Sydney Disabilities Expo, so you can showcase your product to potential customers and make connections. So all startups are welcome to attend that but that’s not required attendance. Then once we’ve finished up the program, two weeks later, we have what we call Finisher and Demo Day. So we’ll come together, wrap up, get prepared for Demo Day and at Demo Day we plan to invite industry, investors, potential partners but we’ll work with you to tap into our network because our aim is to get the right people in front of your startup. We also will plan four sessions across the 16 weeks where it is the international cohort coming together. Okay a note on program accessibility. So we’ll ensure that our program meets your accessibility needs so we’ll work together prior to the start to ensure we’re best serving those accessibility requirements. And I will say that some programming is designed for in-person attendance but we can of course make accommodations for accessibility there. Global cohort programming is will operate in Australian Eastern Standard Time and as I’ve mentioned a couple of times it’s currently planned for a Tuesday and Thursday mid morning Sydney time but the final times will be determined once we know that cohort and we’ll do our best to align with everyone’s availability. But do bear in mind it is Australian Eastern Standard time for some of you outside of the time zone. We will be able to record some of the sessions but they are designed for live attendance wherever possible. The program is also designed to be delivered in English and, as required, sign interpretation will be available. And a quick note on our coaches and mentors. All of them speak English but some of them are bilingual and multilingual, so if there are language needs there we can do our best to match up. Okay Investment. So what that looks like for the Global cohort is $100,000 Australian dollars for 6% Equity but as we navigate this process we are equipping you with some legal sessions. So to ensure you have full understanding we’ve organised a legal session with Legal Vision to go through the Accelerator agreement and our suggested shareholder agreement. That will be as a group and then we’ll give you access to one-on-one legal advice with a Legal Vision lawyer for up to four hours. And that’s just between your startup and a lawyer, it doesn’t include any of the Remarkable staff team in those sessions and it will be at no cost to you. We really want to help you navigate the investment process and understand your rights and obligations there, and you’ll then have an opportunity to meet with Pete. And this is all before you sign anything, so we really want you to to be informed in making those decisions. Okay so before I move on to the ‘what startups we’re looking for’ in application process, does anyone in the live session have particular questions about program inclusions and how that operates? I’ll just pause for a moment you can put a digital hand up or type in the chat. My chat box has just disappeared Pete, am I missing anything in the chat?

[17:34] Pete Horsley, Remarkable – question from chat
It’s just a question about could you explain how the equity works? So so for companies coming into Remarkable we do have we asked that you have a company structure where you’re a for-profit organisation. So if you’re not-for-profit then we, unfortunately at this time, aren’t working with not for-profit companies we’re working with for-profit companies. And so if you’re not familiar with kind of setting up a shareholders structure for your business, that’s where you can get some support from Legal Vision. So they’re at an arms length to us, so they’re operating on behalf of you and your startup. They are not operating on behalf of CPA or Cerebral Palsy Alliance or Remarkable, they are are there to really help you navigate that process. So in doing that we give, we invest $100,000 into what is a generally a fairly early stage company, and as part of that as well you get all the value that Emma has spoken about of: the mentors the coaches, who we pay, as well as access to our networks and access to all the experience that we bring around Disability Tech that we’ve been kind of focused on for the last 8 years. So it is worth much, much more than just the $100,000 but the $100,000 is cold hard cash for the Global cohort. It is a little bit different for those of you, I know we’ve got some people here from the states as well, a little bit different there so. And I’m just seeing some of these other questions come through.

[19:23] Emma Earley, Remarkable – question from chat
So some of the other questions I will answer in terms of sort of Eligibility and Stage. I wonder if, maybe Pete you can answer this one? If an applicant has already raised funds at a valuation slightly higher than that of Remarkable’s is it possible to negotiate?

[19:39] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
We can. So if that has been a recent raise and it has been with sophisticated investors not just friends and family then we can certainly have a look at that and open to that.

[19:54] Emma Earley, Remarkable
So the other ones (questions in chat) hopefully I will answer in the next little section because the first part was about program inclusions but if I don’t I will make sure to get to them.

So ‘what startups are we looking for’? And please continue to post your questions in the chat. So a note on Eligibility. So obviously Disability Tech, that is what Remarkable is here to accelerate. So your startup needs to clearly benefit people with disabilities directly or indirectly and that can include disability, health and aging spaces as well.

So Stage. Having a bit of a zoom issue here there we go. So ideally the Stage we’re looking for is post-product and post-revenue, but if you are an earlier stage med tech product we really encourage you to apply as well because we acknowledge the longer path to market in particular. If you feel like you might be in a bit of a grey area, I’d really encourage you to apply. But if you are very much earlier than that, perhaps next year’s cohort of Launcher might be a better fit for you. If you really are unsure feel free to send us an email.

Okay Business Structure. Pete mentioned before, for-profit and then also for-purpose is very important to us but a not-for-profit structure unfortunately is not eligible for our Accelerator program. Okay you need to be Growth Ready, it’s all about growth here. So that means your tech needs to be able to scale, to help more people.

And finally your innovation needs to be ‘remarkable’ and what does that mean for us? So we are seeking innovators who are focused on positive impact and groundbreaking innovations.

Okay so, ‘Who in particular are we looking for’? What types of startups and what do you need to know and have. So a clear solid, understanding of the problem and how you validated that. So clearly describe in your application the problems that you’re looking to solve for people with disability, and how you validated that. This problem needs to be solved and your solution is the way to solve it. Please make sure that you are providing evidence of this, and that could be customer interviews, research statistics or other verifiable data, could be lived experience and subject matter expertise of you and your team members. So the solution needs to be scalable and Remarkable. So a strong solution that solves that problem. And tell us why your technology is remarkable – why, how are you pushing boundaries? We’re not looking for copies with the tiniest of tweaks of things that are already in market, we’re looking for unique innovations that can really make impact here. And then your team. Why are you the right team to solve this problem? Let us know. If you happen to be a solo founder let us know how you manage all of the things that go into a startup. Do you utilise contractors or are you looking for a co-founder maybe or how do you go about managing all of the the moving parts and why are you the right person or people to do it. We’re also looking for people and teams that are coachable, willing to get out of your comfort zone and those with a growth mindset. We’re not after people who sort of think they already have all of the answers, like let’s work hard and figure it out together. And then Program Fit. So it needs to be aligned and engaged. So we want people who would love to be active participants in our Accelerator program, building in and with community. Someone who actually wants to partner with us at Remarkable as your support team, almost like an extension of your team. And I will make a note here if you are only looking for funding, that’s perfectly valid, but it’s not the right fit. We want people who want to be actively involved in our program and within the cohort. Importantly each of these things aligns with the application questions, so please bear that in mind. And this on this slide, this is an image of Cheryl Gledhill who is an Accelerator alumna and she’s now a mentor, a coach and a masterclass facilitator for our programs and currently works at Culture Amp.

Okay so ‘How to craft successful applications’. I mentioned a little bit before about those specific areas that will include but please, please, please it sounds so simple read all of the frequently ask questions and application questions before you hit submit. We are asking all of the questions for a reason, they have been consciously crafted and reviewed. And use plain English, explain it to us simply and clearly. We have diverse judging team from different backgrounds, different neurotypes and different sector expertise, so explain it simply and clearly. Don’t skim over anything, another thing that might seem a little bit simplistic but answer everything and give everything care. We score each category numerically, so that’s important to note. So don’t only focus on one area that you think you might be particularly strong and not give each of the other questions and sections the same love and energy and attention because we score each category numerically. But with that, bear in mind that long answers don’t necessarily mean better answers. If you can explain things concisely it can often demonstrate that you have a clear understanding and a better handle of your startup. And then finally be authentic and honest. You don’t need to answer what you think we want to hear, be authentically you. And I will make a note there that if you feel like you might have a bit of a gap in one of the questions or one of the areas, I’d encourage you rather than to leave it blank or omit an answer, acknowledge that gap acknowledge that area for support and growth because we want people who do have that sense of awareness and are wanting to grow as well.

Okay onto the ‘Application Process’. For those of you that haven’t logged in yet and seen it. So we have built our own custom portal through Glide and you access that on our website Remarkable.org/accelerator or just navigate to the Accelerator page and click apply. So it’s a three stage process. Step 1 is to develop your personal profile. To actually get there you’ll be emailed a PIN, so just bear in mind check your spam or clutter folder if you don’t get that PIN but it will give you access, you don’t need to create your own password though .Should only take up to 5 minutes and then Step 2 is to create your startup profile and give us some general information about your startup. That should take up to 20 minutes. And then Step 3 you need to select the Accelerator program. We’ve built the portal so that you can apply for multiple programs so make sure you’re clicking Accelerator in Step 3 and then that’s where you’ll answer some of those more detailed questions. And that should take up to 20 minutes. So you can see here that it might be up to 45 minutes to go through the whole process. So if you are in that grey area I don’t think it is too honorous if for you to really you know throw your hat in the ring and put yourself up for consideration if you feel like you might be on that grey area of eligibility. Please bet on yourself and be part of it. But obviously it might take a little bit longer for you to craft your responses and refine them as best you can. Okay we’ve got a couple weeks, two and a bit weeks, applications close on Monday the 29th of April. And I will make a note here that the application portal can be optimised for screen readers, there will be a toggle at the start to click to optimise for screen readers and the structure of the questions will change slightly to be more accessible there. But you can also head to the website frequently ask questions page if you’d like to download a PDF or Google doc version of the main questions, if you wanted to draft your responses before logging into the portal. I make a note of our diverse judging team. We will have a mix of genders, ethnicities and lived experience with disability and sector expertise, that’s really important to us.

Okay let’s move on, to you. We’ve got a couple of frequently asked questions that we’ve been asked before and I’ve got some key dates to go through but why don’t I just see in the chat first. Maybe I’ll go bottom to top. So ‘How many places are there in the Global cohort and are teams of founders prioritised or preferred over solo founders?’ So the first answer to your question is around about 5 for the Global cohort is the number of teams but we really will look at the applications and we want the right people and the best startups that are aligned with the program. And in terms of solo versus group founding teams. Pete I don’t necessarily think it’s one or the other it’s about whether the team, irrespective of how many, is the right team.

[29:29] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
Yeah I think that that’s a great response like it’s we don’t have a you know a bias against solo founders. We’ve worked with solo founders before, and again it’s are you the right person solving this really big problem. That’s the thing that we’re kind of looking for the most. And do you have the ability to, kind of, draw around you others who believe in this mission as well. Like that’s, they’re the kind of key things…as I do that my phone is ringing…So yeah they’re the things that we’re probably looking for. So no preference of solo versus team.

[30:10] Emma Earley, Remarkable
Okay another question here is [Question] ‘What kinds of areas of work are you looking for? Mine is focused on edtech for a school age audience?’ [Answer] So critically it needs to impact people with disability directly or indirectly. So edtech could impact people with disability directly or indirectly, so I’ll leave that for you to determine but it’s not a particular edtech ‘is or isn’t’, it would be is your solution serving people with a disability. Sorry let me just scroll up. ‘Can it be (just for the benefit of people watching the recording, even though some of the questions have been answered by Pete in the chat I will speak them out loud)

[Question] ‘Can it be an existing company, established 10 years ago but hasn’t traded much’? [Answer] Yes, simply yes. ‘If an applicant has already read’ oh we answered that one before.

[Question] ‘If we are pre-revenue when will the equity kick in? Mine is private limited for-profit.’ [Answer] So it’s a fixed equity round, Pete has written in response, it kicks in when the program starts. It might be relevant in terms of your cash flow planning that it is about Week 3 of the program which starts the new financial year in July when the funding will actually be transferred. So funding won’t be transferred week 1 of the program, it will be from week 2 in the new financial year.

[Question] ‘What kind of traction are you looking for?’ Thank you for the question. Pete do you want to take that one.

[31:46] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
[Answer] Yeah so I guess we are looking for kind of a product in-market that’s starting to be sold. We say on our Frequently Asked Questions as well, that if you’re a Medtech device and aren’t quite at that stage of selling to customers yet that that’s okay. And we do make some allowances for hardware technology because we know that (a) there is not a lot of help out there for Hardware startups. So the kind of traction is some early stage validation, of that through some paying customers – apart from what I’ve just said about Medtech and Hardware. That, that’s kind of … so it doesn’t have to be kind of hundreds of thousands of dollars month on month that’s coming in, we’re looking for some early stage traction there that that you’re out in-market, with customers who are wanting to pay for your product. That’s kind of what we’re looking for.

[32:44] Emma Earley, Remarkable
[Question] Okay another question ‘What are previous year’s success rates for applications?’

[32:52] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
[Answer] Yes I think last year we had about, oh gosh, 120 applications some around that and we took kind of 7 I think was in last year’s one. So yeah you can kind of do the math on that.

[33:07] Emma Earley, Remarkable
[Question] ‘What level of involvement will Remarkable have in terms of the day-to-day running of each successful startup once the Accelerator is over?’ [Answer] I think I might talk to during the program ,we will support you but we’re not necessarily like working in your startup per se in terms of the day-to-day running. Maybe that’s just a nuance that my brain is is you know honing in on but we, when I sort of said think of us almost like an extension of your team, not working in your startup per se but supporting you in whatever areas that might be working with you to troubleshoot or unblock, it might be connecting you with someone who can support you, it might be giving you access to content or other resources. And then once the Accelerator is over, again in terms of working on the operating side, not that style of relationship but this might actually be an opportunity to introduce you to Kate Jenkins who is our Head of Community and Partnerships and maybe she can share ways that we are supporting our alumni community.

[34:16] Kate Jenkins, Remarkable
Hi everyone. Yeah we, post Accelerator we want to make sure that we we do keep you in our community because we have an incredible ecosystem of people and I our alumni are my very core to that. So my role is coming to make sure that we do nurture that community more and more. So we’re setting up ways that we can do peer-to-peer learning sessions, community networking sessions where you can meet with others and network online but also in-person. We do the in-person ones a couple of time a year but hoping to get out to more cities to do that over the year. We just recently did one Sydney where we had lots of people turn up. And yeah we also, kind of work out how we can do more, give more value in terms of like developmental learning sessions. So stay tuned for more of that in the coming weeks.

[35:15] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
I might just add as well we’ve got Zara on the call here, as well. So Jen we definitely want to be continue to be we’re… we’re an active shareholder so you know we we don’t want to just say thanks and see you later. We’re… we’re interested in your future success and certainly I think that the thing that Remarkable brings is the power of our network and so I…and others in the team Liza on this call as well. We still have contact with people who are from the first cohort of Remarkable and we are actively supporting them and their growth so we obviously can’t do it as intensely as what we do during the Accelerator program but certainly it is…it’s in our interest to see you succeed, and so we want to see you have the impact that you you’re hoping to have. I hope that kind of answers the question as well. [Emma] Okay another question here, I might keep it for you Kate. [Question] ‘Could you please talk about the kind of mentor support they can receive in terms of their professional expertise?’

[36:30] Kate Jenkins, Remarkable
[Answer] Yeah throughout the program we have incredible mentors within the community. So we have mentors that are like working in like leadership development, oh we’ve got people like we’ve got a mentor that used to head up HR for Salesforce and Apple. You know, so in terms of professional expertise like there’s plenty of people within our community that you can tap into, as well as your coach will be there along the road you know that’s had you, all our coaches have had you know amazing experience, that would be there to support you. So developing you as a leader, you know we we want to focus on that. So whether you’re leading a team or just a a solo founder either way we have a focus on making sure that you’re getting the development that you need. And the coach’s role is really about looking out to the mentor community and seeing who’s who we can bring to you to help you with that support and it’s also you know I’m here to do that as well. So yeah lots of different people in the community that can help with that development.

[37:48] Emma Earley, Remarkable
Right thanks Kate, okay. [Question] ‘What is the process once applications have been submitted following the April 29 deadline?’ [Answer] So we go through through a couple of internal rounds of scoring, to screen the applicants. Then we numerically score them, then we have a selection panel to further short list to the top, however many, that we will invite for an interview. And then once the final cohort is sent offers, that’s when the group legal session, which is currently planned for the 21st of May, will happen. Then those startups will have a week to have those one-on-one legal advice sessions, and then hopefully accept the place and sign the documents by that 31st of May. So that the following week we can start onboarding and the Deep Dive process, and then the the program will will start on the 17th of June.

[Question] ‘Could you explain a bit about Remarkable’s approach to IP and expectations for what stage teams should be at?’ What do you mean by stage in relation to IP – could you clarify that please Michael?

[39:11] Michael
Hi thanks Emma, Pete. For folks coming into the Accelerator program should folks have it already disclosed or should they be looking at working with the Remarkable or team mentors and Accelerator program, to go about navigating that as they look at entering the market?

[39:31] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
[Answer] I think probably the best response to that, nice to see you again Michael, is…so we want to accelerate and work with the company that has the IP. So all the IP is yours. Like there’s no… there’s no kind of question about that, that should all kind of sit with the company. Sometimes there are some interesting structures in terms of kind of IP sitting somewhere and then the company sit over here and then another kind of shell company that sits over the top of some of those things. So we we want to work with the company where the IP sits, solving the problem that is kind of a big problem that we’ve… we agree with you that that needs to be solved. So all the IP is definitely all of the startups. We do ask during the application phase if there are any IP agreements in place, just to kind of make note of those. Again mostly just so that we’re doing our due diligence, in if you’ve had contractors working on kind of parts of things that there’s not going to be some kind of claim over that IP kind of down the track that could unseat a company in some way. So that’s just kind of part of our due diligence process. And then in terms of kind of what stage they should be at before, during and during the Accelerator. Yeah I guess those we do have people within the community that if IP is a particular area of interest for you we’ve got both IP lawyers and kind of people who have worked in Venture Capital with startups that are part of our mentor and coach community as well. So… so yeah we can definitely advise and have other people help you think through that. It’s obviously all of our mentors are giving advice, it is ultimately up to you as the founder of the business to actually decide whether you kind of take on that level of advice as well.

[41:37] Emma Earley, Remarkable
Question in the chat. [Question] ‘Will we get financial support in coming to Sydney for the program events?’

[41:45] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
[Answer] So if it’s an international we do have travel bursaries that are available there. If it’s a domestic then we haven’t in the past so.

[41:56] Emma Earley, Remarkable
[Question] ‘Can you be in two accelerators at once?’ Do you mean two different ones or the two cohorts simultaneously?

[42:05] Audience
Two different ones, like UNSW’s accelerator for example.

[42:12] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
[Answer] Look it I mean that’s… it is up to you, kind of…if you think that’s the best use of your time certainly we understand that startups… there isn’t lots and lots of support around for early stage startups, so I can understand I guess going for various kind of funding sources in in different places. So… and it’s just then and about do you feel like that you have ample time to, kind of, commit to the things that Remarkable requires as well as the other accelerator and be working in your business, like that’s ultimately the thing that you need to do is not just attend things – you need to accelerate your business. And so we try and find that balance between the amount of contact hours that we have, as well as, you know really having time that you are pushing forward on things and that we’re really clear about all of the kind of questions that are coming your way, what are the priority areas that are going to move your business forward the best and the fastest. So I think it’s possible. You probably just need to kind of then figure out.. yeah how am I balancing all of those kind of requirements.

[43:35] Audience
[Question] If there are multiple peoples in the team, you know, you can actually have shared the burden but obviously you say you know, you are right need to focus, so thanks.

[43:49] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
Certainly and you just got to make sure your communication is really strong, as well, across the team. Because if you’re…you know if you have different people, hearing different things from different people, making sure that the communication of that is is really well done within the team I think is important.

[44:04] Audience
Sure thank you.

[44:05] Emma Earley, Remarkable
[Questions] ‘Hey is my company eligible if it has an exclusive or non-exclusive license to the product IP?’ Good question.

[44:14] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
[Answer] That’s a great question Michelle. Yeah like I think, so again it’s… it’s there is nothing that kind of says anything in terms of eligibility around if you have exclusive or non-exclusive license. I guess what we do look for within there is you know, the competitive landscape – do you have a kind of you know a way of competing against others and and winning in that in that world to to make sure that your impact grows quickly. So sometimes an exclusive or a non-exclusive license, both of those things can actually be something that tips in your favour. It can also be something that you’re then wedded to the organisation that you’ve got that license agreement with and so their development is really critical in your own development as well. So there there can be kind of pluses and minuses around that as well. I hope that makes sense.

[45:20] Emma Earley, Remarkable
[Question] ‘Could you please define how much revenue we should be making to be eligible for the program?’ I’m not sure that it’s a specific number, it… revenue is an indicator of traction and validation. So the best way you can validate that, you know, your problem is solving the solution in the right way, that your customers need, is by having paying customers using your product. So that’s why we do ask that, but there does need to be revenue potential and a scalable business model. Did you have anything else to add on that one Pete?

[45:53] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
No I think that’s perfectly answered.

[45:55] Emma Earley, Remarkable
Okay have I missed any? We’ll have a little scan. I will just go onto another slide that has a couple of others (questions) that we’re often asked in the meantime. [Question] So…Is the program only based…only for startups based in Australia and the US? No…but we we support startups across the world. But I will make a note here, that our strongest networks and experience are in the Australian, and then US markets for the US cohort, but if you are based outside Australia and the US we do have networks in other countries but please just make sure you do take into account time zone differences. I…hopefully it’s clear but I think it’s worth saying, Which cohort am I eligible for? So if your startup is based in any country in the world excluding the US, then you are eligible for the Global cohort. And when we say based, it’s not just where the founder lives, it’s where is your… where’s your business registered and where are you mainly operating – that’s what we mean by where is it based. And then the US cohort is solely for startups in the US and it works on US Eastern Standard time. Is the Accelerator a full-time commitment? So your participation in the Accelerator time is not … as I mentioned before … expected commitment each week will be around about 7 hours and that is mostly online but the weeks that we do have the in-person events, and maybe some other weeks when like when you’re preparing for Demo Day it will be higher than that. I will make a note though that we’re probably optimising for teams that are working full-time on their startups. We don’t want this to be something that sort of sits outside of what you’re working on your business, we want it to be embedded in how you’re already working on and growing your startup. Yeah that’s actually the last of the very common FAQ’s that we have. Have I missed any in the chat? Please point out somehow in the chat, with a digital hand up or come off mute, whatever is available to you.

[48:11] Liza Maclean, Remarkable
Emma, I think Vinya had an extra question just around disability expertise of the sort of mentors and coaches.

[48:18] Emma Earley, Remarkable
Thank you…I can’t see the question but to answer that we do have a diverse range of people in our network with a lived experience, with a range of disabilities. We do also have networks within disability communities that we can connect you with. So it is a combination of network access and collaborating directly with people with lived experience with disability.

[48:50] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
Maybe just one other thing to add to that, is that Cerebral Palsy Alliance is also part of something called The Alliance 20. It’s a network of, it’s actually now about 25 of the largest disability service providers in Australia, and we have relationships in into some of those organisations as well. So and we have people in the team that have, that have been part of the disability sector for more than 20 years or 20 years. So…so yeah there is some deep expertise there around the disability sector. Vinya?

[49:35] Audience
[Question] Yeah so basically I’m a special educator, I worked for a long time in California and I came back to India to work on setting up a venture. So … the mentorship I would need would not necessarily be from you know people with expertise, just in terms of disability, but people who working on a venture you know. So like a combination of people who might have run businesses, so they really understand the branding positioning part of it.

[50:08] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
Yeah definitely and the other thing to kind of mention as well, is that a couple of years ago we set up the +N network, or the Inclusive Innovation Network, which is a global network of other startup acceleration programs that are in different parts of the world, and we have strong partnerships with AssisTech Foundation in India, who understand that kind of network really, really well as well. And we’ve got different kind of connections in different parts of the world, as well. So Africa, the UK, India, China, New Zealand, Canada as well as US as well. So we can tap into that expertise that kind of really is, you know some of that… that global market intelligence I guess, that that hopefully is relevant to startups as well.

[51:08] Emma Earley, Remarkable
Okay I can’t see any other questions. Hopefully that has been useful for you, to help you craft your amazing applications for your incredible startups, that I’m sure even if you’re not part of this particular cohort at this time, will go on to make incredible impact in the world. So thank you first of all for working on that. Thank you for joining us today. All of this information that I’ve shared should exist on the website. I don’t think there’s anything outside of that but this recording, if you did want to go back and get the notes again, will be available as a blog next week. We’re aiming for Monday but we do need to make sure that there is a transcript. And my counterpart will have a US cohort one with ASL and it does take us a little bit longer to ensure that the recording is accessible to our audiences. So maybe Monday, maybe Tuesday it will be available as a recording. If you did have any other questions please send us an email our details are on the website. 29th of April is when applications close and it’s automated, the portal will close. So you won’t be able to sort of submit after the timeline because the button will not work. So thank you so much for joining us. Good Luck. Oh is there did I miss another question.

[52:36] Pete Horsley, Remarkable
So it is 11:59 p.m. Australian Eastern Standard time is the time that it actually closes on the 29th. So you need to look up Australian time at 11:59 p.m. After that it, it does switch off.

[52:52] Emma Earley, Remarkable
Right thank you so much for joining us. Take care and I cannot wait to see these applications. Have a great week. Bye.

Connect with our 2024 Launcher Customer Showcase Startups!

Presenting our 2nd Customer Showcase

This year our Launcher program introduced our biggest cohort ever – with 38 ideas to early stage startups, representing the best emerging disability tech in the world right now. This cohort came from 7 operating countries, across a diverse range of innovations including navigation, makeup, health, mobility, entertainment, gaming, and fitness.

Congratulations to all of the founders who worked so hard and made an incredible amount of progress during the 8 weeks of our 2024 Launcher program. Their passion and experience is truly transforming the future of Disability Tech!

Showcasing the Future of Disability Tech

Below you’ll find the 90-second elevator pitches which were unveiled at our recent virtual Launcher Customer Showcase. For many founders, it was their first time presenting their ideas, so please give them your support and help champion them to their next stage of growth! For your convenience we have listed the contact details and the ‘Asks’ for each startup below, so you can reach out directly.

You are welcome to watch the full recording of the Customer Showcase or explore individual pitches by startup name, listed in alphabetical order. Please note, not every startup from the Launcher 2024 cohort is featured in the Customer Showcase.

Acme AI Ltd

Developing ‘DrishT’, a navigation system for the visually impaired using computer vision, audio, and haptic feedback.

Startup Ask: Whatsapp +8801310519597 or info@acmeai.tech

Operating Country: Bangladesh.
Category: Software
Team Members: Omar Faruk


Redesigning four-wheel walkers for improved manoeuvrability and user satisfaction in Australia.

Startup Ask: Please email us to express interest in being a user or know someone who would like to be a user or are someone who can help us in our mission to manufacture and place new walkers in homes, facilities and hospitals.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware
Team Members: Tom Cronin


A mobile app that provides disability law information, offers legal assistance, reporting mechanisms for persons with disabilities, and offers disability compliance services for businesses.

Startup Ask: Sign up for our waiting list, introduce us to persons with disabilities for a customer interview, talk to us and share your legal challenges you face, be a beta tester to get early access to our product and help us refine it before the official launch, connect us with international and national organizations in the disability sector, connect us with AI specialists, accessibility experts in product design, and disability lawyers. Join us as co-founders, partners, and investors.

Operating Country: Azerbaijan.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Reyhan Ramazanova, Bahar Ramazanova

BlissFlow Medical

Developing a non-invasive urine removal device, providing a comfortable and effective solution for managing urinary incontinence in adults.

Startup Ask: Introductions to experts in urology, geriatrics or textile and garment design.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware
Team Members: Connie (Zixuan) Zhang, Xinyi (Rachel) Wang


A mobile app transforming physical buttons in the public domain into accessible digital versions for people with disabilities, enhancing their interaction with public services.

Startup Ask: We are on the lookout for connections, whether you just want to say hi, share your insights or find out more we’d love to hear from you.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Software
Team Members:Jason Woelfl


Makeup accessories that makes beauty accessible.

Startup Ask: Go to our website to join the waitlist and be first in line for our first-release products!  We’re searching for someone passionate about making beauty accessible to lead our social media. We are also looking for connections with Sephora or Mecca!

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware
Team Members: Storm Menzies

Cortex Technologies IP Pty. Ltd.

Offers a non-invasive, user-friendly cerebral blood flow monitoring and neurofeedback mechanism for home use, aiding Australians affected by brain disorders.

Startup Ask:

1. We are seeking expressions of interest from Angel Investors and Venture Capital investors interested in investing in our project but just as importantly who are interested in working with Cortex to help bring our product to market.
2. We would love to hear from people who experience neurocognitive issues associated with their conditions who would be interested in helping us refine our game concepts and headset frame designs to make sure our headset is suitable for their needs.
3. We are also seeking to connect with members of the neurofeedback therapy industry.
You are welcome to contact us via LinkedIn or via the Cortex Technologies website https://cortexbraintech.com/

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware
Team Members: Casey Pfluger, Adam Burton, Amy-Rose Goodey, Ali Lahmar, Elias Dovkrans.


An AI powered application offering a unique journey towards self-expression and empowerment.

Startup Ask: Your insight matters! Reach out for a chat via our contact form or take our survey – all found at https://embodify.my.canva.site/lets-chat

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Software
Team Members: Matthew Falcomata


Designing sexual wellness products for people with disabilities.

Startup Ask: Sign up for our waitlist and newsletter at tinyurl.com/ergetoys. You can also drop our founder an email with questions or ideas at ergetoys@gmail.com.

Operating Country: country.
Category: Software, Hardware
Team Members: Elise Sonders, Emily Drennen

Facial Gesture Recognition System

Detects eye movements and facial gestures to aid communication for individuals with Severe Speech and Motor Impairment (SSMI) throughout the day and night.

Startup Ask: To reach more people with Severe Speech and Motor Impairments and their caregivers.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Software
Team Members: Azmi CİBİ, Ahmet Gökçe BOZAN, Şafak AKINCI, Ali GOKTOGAN

Feelings Foundation

Digital mental health programs for autistic people.

Startup Ask: I’m looking for partners in international business development to help me establish a sustainable model. Please connect with me on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/drmichellewong

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Michelle Wong

Geshido Corporation

Geshido is the AI focus assistant for teams that minimizes wasted effort daily.

Startup Ask: Join our early access waitlist on geshido.com and email christina.chang@geshido.com for an intorductory team workshop!

Operating Country: United States.
Category: Software.
Team Members:
Eric Wong, Jean Lozano, Christina Chang

Hey Jean

Care management tool for NDIS and aged care providers to deliver better care, faster.

Startup Ask: Sign up to the waitlist on our website – www.heyjean.com.au

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Kate Fields, Tessa Riley

Human Augmentation Lab

Developing NaviShare, a discreet, crowd-source powered navigation system designed for the visually impaired, offering hands-free indoor and outdoor way finding.

Startup Ask: 1) Visit our website to get involved in testing or stay updated. 2) Provide warm introductions to government officials or businesses interested in improved accessibility. 3) Donate to our program for university students to get involved in disability tech.

Operating Country: United States.
Category: Hardware
Team Members: Paul Ruvolo, Sam Michalka


AI-driven AAC mobile application revolutionising how individuals with communication impairments express themselves.

Startup Ask: Visit Website.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Gary Mansted

My Ability Hub

Enhancing ability to complete daily living tasks, community access and participation through accessible visual organisation tools.

Startup Ask: We would like to connect to families, teachers, allied health professions and health center’s to be the first users of My Ability Hub. Sign up to our waitlist today!

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Billie Stanley

Our Odyssey

Making video games accessible to all with a joystick overlay and software platform that enables play through mouse movement or eye gaze.

Startup Ask: If you have ever felt alone… I invite you to join the Our Odyssey community by sharing our social meetups, participating in our streams, and using our accessible controller in the #NoControllerChallenge. Learn more at https://ourodyssey.org/oaa-get-involved. Thank you!

Operating Country: United States.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Anthony DeVergillo

Quick Styx

Speeding up wound recovery in children undergoing achilles tendon surgery for clubfoot and other injuries utilising NASA-developed gauze.

Startup Ask: Our next step is speaking with experts and advisors. We are keen for any contacts who are key opinion leaders in wound care or in sports performance recovery please.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware.
Team Members: Peter Hartley

RehabExo Pty Ltd

Developing soft exoskeletons and exosuits for adults and children with disabilities.

Startup Ask: We are looking for health professionals to help us test and validate our product.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware.
Team Members: A K M Mohib ur Rahman, Dinesh Palipana, Monzurul Alam, Vaheh Nazari


Keeping our most treasured community members on their feet, by providing objective measurements of stability, and connecting them with clinicians.

Startup Ask: We’d love to connect with you if you are working with those at risk of falls, or are concerned about falls for yourself or a loved one.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Justin Fong, Eduardo Cofre Lizama


Designing smart mobility devices to enable individuals with disabilities to move independently within their homes, reducing caregiver strain.

Startup Ask: Contact us to share your experience with mobility difficulties or feedback on our prototype. Join the waitlist on our website to receive updates on ReviMo’s progress.

Operating Country: United States.
Category: Hardware.
Team Members: Kyra Chester-Paul, Aleksandr Malashchenko.

RoPets: Companions for Life

Providing companionship to the elderly and disabled through AI-powered robotic pets that monitor health and emotional well-being.

Startup Ask: Connect us with the aged care networks, and help the elderly stay connected through Ro-Pets.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware.
Team Members: Nesli Avgan, John Magnifico, Tansel Ersavas, Ali GOKTOGAN

Sekond Skin Society

A fitness app designed around accessibility, so people with disabilities and people without disabilities can workout together.

Startup Ask: Join our Early Adopter Program today!

Operating Country: Canada.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Lee-Anne Reuber

Seymour Accessibility LLC

Seymour delivers real-time computer generated captions to mobile devices at live events.

Startup Ask: We are seeking venues to serve as beta tester in exchange for discounted pricing at launch.

Operating Country: United States.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Nsikan Ikpoh, Gregory Mena


A go-to hub for people living with disability to discover and enjoy accessible events across Australia.

Startup Ask: We’re looking for connect with like-minded people living with disability that are willing to share their insights in the development and trial phases of our platform. We are also looking to chat with venue owners, promoters and ticketing platforms about how we can work together to improve the event-going experience for all and in turn increase their target market.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Jay-Dee Pitcaithly

Tangible Workshop

Designing Getabout Buggy, affordable, customisable beach wheelchairs to enhance mobility for individuals with special medical needs.

Startup Ask: Help marketing effectively and looking for overseas partners.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware.
Team Members: David Ingerson


Developing an app that will enable people with disability and their supports to remain connected and seamlessly share information.

Startup Ask: Our research shows strong demand for Teamy but we need your help to bring it to life. We’re looking for software developers and collaborators to join us on this journey.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Tori Marshall


Pioneering custom seating solutions using 3D printing to make them more affordable, supportive, and user-friendly.

Startup Ask: Our biggest need is introductions to children’s hospitals and charities. We are looking for safe note investment to expedite the roadmap, enter the reimbursement system, expand the manufacturing, and develop new products.

Operating Country: United States.
Category: Hardware.
Team Members: Alexander Geht

The KOBE Robot

Empowering Paediatric Patients with a Novel Tethered Ventilator-Carrying Robot.

Startup Ask: We would like to reach more patients who need continuous ventilator support to breathe, as well as their caregivers.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware.
Team Members:
John Tran, Ali GOKTOGAN

The Stomal Sponge

An innovative solution for managing stomas, reducing complications and simplifying care.

Startup Ask: We are wanting to take the next step towards transforming ostomy care and are seeking expertise in medical device marketing and co-founder collaboration.

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware.
Team Members:
Mackenzie Boundy


An AI-powered educational platform that assists educators in the learning journey of students with disabilities and learning disorders in Brazil.

Startup Ask: Find out more about our project on our page https://vinculo.app

Operating Country: Brazil.
Category: Software.
Team Members: Rafael Anselmo, Débora Brito


Developing assistive technologies to improve eye drop medication accessibility and manage eye health for people living with dexterity challenges.

Startup Ask: If you live with dexterity challenges, join our usability study to provide feedback. We’d also appreciate introductions to Parkinson’s or arthritis supporting groups or organisations. You can reach out to myself via lorace@vysum.com.au

Operating Country: Australia.
Category: Hardware.
Team Members: Lorace Zhang

2024 Launcher Customer Showcase

Play Video about Disability Tech Showcase promotional graphic with play button, text "Launch - Customer Showcase Meet The Future of Disability Tech" on a purple background.

The above video is the full recording of the Launcher Customer Showcase, it includes closed captions with a transcript below.  To access a version of the Launcher Customer Showcase that includes sign language interpretation in American Sign Language, (ASL) or Australian Sign Language (Auslan) please use the buttons below.

Also included below is a Connect with Launcher Startups button, which provides access to the individual 90-second elevator pitches for the Launcher startups.


[00:00] Voice Over
Many of the greatest technological advances enabling the world right now were originally created by and for people with disabilities. Remarkable exists to amplify those innovators to help transform their ideas into revolutionary tools whose benefits are felt universally. Because technology cannot only drive inclusion and equity for people with disabilities, it can do it for everyone. Remarkable Disability Tech. Amplifying every human’s potential.

[01:03] Emma Earley from Remarkable
Hello everyone, I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we are gathered today. And for me that’s the Gadigal and Bidjigal peoples. I pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and contributions. We believe We Are Better Together.

Welcome everyone to the Customer Showcase 2024. Thank you so, so much for joining us. My name is Emma Early and I’m the Head of Acceleration programs at Remarkable. I’m a mid 30s half Filipino woman with long brown hair, proudly wearing my black t-shirt with a white Remarkable logo and some dangly gold earrings to celebrate the occasion today. This event has live closed captions that can be accessed in your Zoom toolbar and all pitch videos will display captions too. We have two ASL interpreters joining us today, Ashley and Lizzy and the recording will be available with a full transcript.

So for this second ever Launcher cohort we had 38 teams participate and you’ll have the privilege to hear 90 second pitches from 32 of them and this is a world map showing seven operating countries of our teams: Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland and the US. Feel free to share where you’re dialling in from in the chat if you’d like and we’re proud to also share that 13 people in this cohort identify as living with disability and 17 people identify as a woman or non-binary. We are committed to continual progress to ensure a more diverse, inclusive and accessible program and wider ecosystem.

So for those unacquainted, Launcher supports ideas to early stage startups making a difference in the lives of people with disability. And in just 8 weeks time our teams focused on validation of their problem space, solution or product depending on the stage of their journey. They had access to weekly master classes, one-on-one coaching sessions, a community of early stage founders and they received advice from experienced founders just a few steps ahead of them and had access to perks from our partners. And if you’d like to get started with your own Disability Tech idea and receive all of this support you can register your interest for Launcher 2025 at remarkable.org/launcher.

Now we’ve listened to the disability community and identified 7 Horizons of Possibilities so far that currently need more attention and innovation. And today you’ll hear engaging 90 second pitches grouped by Horizon that start to address some of these challenges. For a lot of these teams this is their first time pitching so please bear that in mind and as we go add your support and encouragement to the chat.

Alright let’s get started. There’ll be 3 sections of pitches and in this first section I’m so proud to welcome 8 teams focused on Early Intervention and Adult Disability Support followed by 7 teams building Innovations in Self-directed and Affordable Mobility.

[04:31] Dr Michelle Wong from Feelings Foundation
Did you know how more and more people are being diagnosed as autistic? Globally it’s 1 in 59. What’s the leading cause of death for people with autism? Suicide. My patients call me Dr Michelle. I’m a clinical psychologist in Australia’s largest paediatric hospital and the very first to specialise in mental health and disability. Why are so many children suffering when research tells us mental health problems are preventable? There is a bottleneck in accessing services and mental health programs are not accessible to all children. We’ve had a Royal Commission
tell us that people with disability need specialised mental health programs. We need to do something now. In my research I developed accessible mental health programs for people that are autistic, non-autistic who might have complex learning communication and motor support needs. Over 2,000 Australian children are using my program and research has demonstrated its effectiveness in improving mental health in over 60 Australian schools. What do I plan for my startup? I plan to digitise and scale mental health programs to help children around the world and today I’m looking for partners in international business development, to help me establish a
sustainable business model.

[06:06] Casey Pfluger from Cortex Technologies
Hi my name’s Casey and I’m the founder of Cortex Technologies. Have you ever had the experience of walking into a room and wondering why it was that you walked into that room and what it was that you’re doing? Well imagine having that experience all the time. Now when people have a neurocognitive issue, such as ADHD or a brain injury, they can experience those kind of symptoms all the time and that’s what drives Cortex. We’re here to provide neurofeedback therapy to help people with those kind of experiences. Now we’ve built hardware and software that can provide neurofeedback. Neurofeedback involves a headset that develop, that detects improvements in brain activity. The player then learns to consciously control their brain activity and is rewarded for ongoing improvements in their brain activity within the game. This triggers long-term improvements of up to up to 12 months. Now we’ve already made significant progress in our goals and we’re now developing our headset frame and software and hardware and seeking funding from manufacturing, optimization and compliance. We’d love to hear from you and thank you very much.

[07:47] Tansel Ersavas from RoPets: Companions For Life
RoPet the ultimate furry companion. World’s population aging rapidly. People over the age of 65 is reaching over 1 billion soon, including our grandparents and parents. Many ageing people have chronic conditions, they are lonely and they need care. We could offer a solution to help loneliness and track wellness, a cute and cuddly companion like a pet, a RoPet. An amazingly natural looking interface to a highly sophisticated technological platform, but who can develop such a companion? If you bring an AI expert, a robotics guru, a domain expert and a cyber security and marketing expert this team can. RoPet has an advanced AI system based on dog-like behaviour, a cute and cuddly body with meaningful dialogue ability and sensors that can observe vitals. Meet Frankie the 4th, the ultimate companion already in the prototype stage. RoPet’s competitors are either non-cuddly and looking like a pet terminator or small toys with very little capabilities. RoPet’s B2B strategy targets aged care centres and home care providers. Later we will establish B2C channels. RoPet’s MVP with mobile app sensor technology and licensable AI technology will be ready by August 2024. Now our priority is to partner with the aged care providers. You can support our mission to help ageing population. Connect us with the aged care networks and help the elderly stay connected through RoPets.

[09:20] Matthew Falcomata from Embodify
Hi I’m Matthew, founder of Embodify. I’m a mid-20s Caucasian male with a black top knot. Globally 80 million people are autistic, with up to 80% experiencing mental health challenges like anxiety and depression. For many communication and self-expression become hurdles especially when the world can fail to understand. My experiences supporting autistic individuals have taught me that each day presents unique challenges and existing solutions often lack accessibility and personalisation. That’s why I created Embodify. An AI powered application offering a unique journey towards self-expression and empowerment. To illustrate Sam a 20-year-old autistic adult faces daily workplace anxiety. Using Embodify Sam identifies their emotions, creates characters representing their current and aspirational cells and integrates them into a story. Helping reframe experiences to visualise a positive outlook. To empower more individuals like Sam we are seeking insights from autistic individuals, parents, caregivers or anyone with a connection to autism. We recognize these challenges extend beyond the autistic community and if this resonates with you or someone you know we welcome your input. Sam is only one of 64 million. Imagine what Embodify could do for the rest?

[10:56] Alexander Geht from Testa Seat
Hello everyone, my name is Alex, I’m the founder and CEO of Testa Seat. About 12 million children with disabilities struggle to sit independently and need a new special seat every 3 years. 90% can’t afford it. Most of the product of the market are very expensive and providing poor support, affecting the children’s ability to communicate, eat and even breathe, and in the long term can lead to development delays and spinal deformation. Testa Seat are the most affordable and multifunctional product on the market. Thanks to 3D printing and our unique customisation platform we can make any size, disrupting this market. We made $90,000 in revenues, delivered 200 products to families and leading institutions. We received investments, grants and we have great partners as Alphalab Health, and Remarkable helping us reaching more customers. Our team is dedicated to make a difference in this market. Our biggest need is introductions to children’s hospitals and charities, and we are looking for SAFE note investment to expedite the roadmap. Thank you and please join our mission to make sure that every child can sit independently. Thank you.

[12:29] Rachel Wang from Bliss Flow
Bliss Flow will change the lives of half a billion people worldwide. My name is Rachel, and I will tell you how. 1 in 4 Australian adults have urinary incontinence, and for 17% of them who have moderate to severe urinary incontinence, there’s no cure or effective solutions. After speaking to 82 patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, we found that the current solution can cause complications, such as dermatitis and urinary tract infections. This could put more weight on the patient and the caregivers. That’s why we are developing a noninvasive smart urine transport system. It has two components, a disposable wearable and a urine transporter. The user simply puts on the wearable just like regular underwear. Then, when there’s urine leakage, it will trigger the transporter to remove the urine from the wearable into a secure and portable container. Bliss Flow provides greater comfort and lower risk of developing complications and is much easier to use than catheters. We will launch in Australia first, targeting adults in the community, then serve care facilities and hospitals. Our diverse expertise in engineering, medical science, marketing, and business makes us well-suited to take this idea to the market. Please introduce us to any experts in urology, geriatrics, or textile design. We are BlissFlow. We empower a healthy, fulfilling, and independent life. Thank you.

[14:12] Ali Goktogan from [URATech] The KOBE Robot
Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM, is a neurological disease primarily affecting children. It often leads to muscle weakness, paralysis, and respiratory complications. In some cases, children may require mechanical ventilation connected through tracheostomy. Carrying a ventilator manually can restrict both the caregivers and the child’s mobility, potentially limiting their participation in activities and freedom of movement. Our mission is to liberate children from the burden of carrying a ventilator, providing enhanced mobility and independence. Introducing the KOBE robot: Keeps One Breathing Everywhere. The KOBE robot is designed to follow its users at a fixed distance while carrying the mechanical ventilator, freeing them to move around without needing to manually hold it. Featuring a custom-made tether sensor, the KOBE robot tracks the user’s position and establishes a tangible link to foster intimacy and security. Onboard obstacle sensors enable the KOBE robot to navigate around obstacles both indoors and outdoors. The KOBE robot is equipped to traverse various surfaces, ensuring playtime anywhere. Let’s collaborate to ensure every child can breathe freely everywhere. Contact us today to learn more and get involved.

[15:26] Mackenzie Boundy from The Somal Sponge
Hello everyone, I’m Mackenzie, a stomal therapy nurse and the founder of The Stomal Sponge. Millions worldwide live with the daily stress of having an ostomy, facing the constant threat of disruptive bag leaks. Individuals are robbed of social interactions and their self-esteem, with the added stress of associated health risks. These leaks often lead to individuals exceeding their monthly allowance of essential consumables. How would you feel if you ran out of your essential hygiene products? The Stomal Sponge offers a lifeline—a biodegradable sponge placed externally in the stoma bag to absorb output. The Stomal Sponge addresses key concerns voiced by those with ostomies by minimising leakage while also neutralising odours, aiming to restore the confidence and freedom stolen by their condition. The multi-billion dollar global ostomy care industry underscores a ripe opportunity for innovation. The Stomal Sponge isn’t just a market disruptor; it’s a revolutionary solution aimed to enhance the dignity and quality of life for those living with an ostomy. We are wanting to take the next step towards transforming ostomy care and are seeking expertise in medical device marketing and co-founder collaboration. Together, let’s simplify ostomy management, one sponge at a time.

[16:53] Tom Cronin from AidMotion
Have you ever seen someone drag the back wheels of a four-wheel walker to move it sideways or struggle to turn it, or just abandon their walker altogether? The current walkers clearly do not fully address user needs. So at AidMotion, we are making a more mobile walker that moves like a shopping trolley and has innovative 3D printed brakes. I’m Tom, the founder of AidMotion. Between Wayne and I, our diverse fields of knowledge in physiotherapy, business, and engineering have allowed us to uniquely understand and fix this problem. 100% of the 50 physiotherapists surveyed have supported the new walker design. We have confirmed our new design meets ISO standards for rollators, completed initial user testing, and are designing our next prototype. Do you or someone you know want a better walker? Do you manage facilities or other groups that would like better walkers? Please contact us on our website, we would love to work with you.

[18:06] David Ingerson from Tangible Workshop
Like many other families with a child in a wheelchair, a trip to the beach was not for a family activity. I would stay in the park at the top while my wife would take our son down to play in the sand and in the water. Not only do wheelchairs not go on sand as they need special wheels, but some beach chairs can be unsafe, frequently tipping on a slope. No beach chair allowed for the positional supports that many wheelchair users need. Of the 4,000 people with cerebral palsy, 1,000 use a wheelchair with postural supports to help them sit upright and even allow for better breathing. We designed the GetAbout for our family, then started getting asked by others if they could have one. We found that three sizes suit almost anyone, from a young child to an older adult, and it needs very little adjustment. Laterals and other postural supports can be configured easily, making a trip to the beach possible. We even made some floats to turn the GetAbout buggy into a watercraft, and we are now looking at effective marketing to potential clients and for overseas potential partners.

[19:23] Aleksandr Malashchenko from ReviMo
Hi, I’m Alex, a founder of ReviMo. After my dear grandfather became paralysed after a stroke, many times I saw embarrassment on his face when he asked me to take him to the toilet. I quit my role as a deputy director of an R&D Institute to create the first mobility device that allows people like my grandfather to get back their dignity. In the US, there are 5.2 million people who cannot transfer themselves from a bed, and caregivers are hurting their backs trying to lift people from their beds, with about 70% of caregivers experiencing lower back pain. I believe that many of you have encountered this problem yourself or with your family or friends, no matter where in the world you are. And here, ReviMo comes in. ReviMo is the first mobile transfer device that can be easily used by people, like my grandfather, independently. It has a remote control and an innovative seat that allows a user to easily sit on the device without assistance. It’s very easy, it takes one minute, and then they are free to drive to the toilet or kitchen. We are currently developing a new prototype and would greatly appreciate feedback from people who have faced this problem. Join the waitlist on our website to receive the latest updates on our product developments. Thank you.

[20:58] Sam Michalka from NaviShare Human Augmentation Lab
Hello everyone, my name is Sam Michalka. I have brown hair and I’m wearing a science-themed scarf. I’m here to introduce a project called NaviShare from the Human Augmentation Lab. We’re collaborating with people who are blind to build better tools for navigating unfamiliar environments. Navigation challenges can be exhausting and even discourage participation in social and professional opportunities. Our solution is two intertwined accessible products to help empower the blind community. The first is an indoor and outdoor navigation app that provides precise localisation and crowdsourced maps. The second is a bag that enables the wearer to use their phone’s camera and control voiceover or another screen reader without needing to devote a hand to holding the phone. We’ve validated these ideas by working with more than a hundred people who are blind. Three ways that you can help are, sign up on our website linked below to get involved, provide introductions to businesses or governments willing to invest in making spaces more accessible, and donate to our research program to support university students working in disability tech. Together, we can make accessible navigation a reality.

[22:16] Omar Faruk from Acme AI
Hello everyone, I’m Omar Faruk from Acme AI. I’m from Bangladesh, a man in his mid-20s wearing a t-shirt. I’ll be presenting Dris T, a navigation body kit powered by computer vision for people with low and complete blindness. The World Health Organization reports 2.2 billion vision impairments globally, with only 3% having access to assisted technology in low-income countries due to high cost, unavailability, and incompleteness of existing products. Our solution offers navigation and guidance through camera, left-right haptic feedback via wireless vibration via wristbands, and auditory feedback via speaker. Currently, our engineering team has successfully developed and tested the firmware. We also partnered with a global NGO called the Center of Rehabilitation of the Paralysed. We are supported by Remarkable and the NVIDIA Inception program. Our next milestones will be to launch our SAAS-based app that can be used with mobile phones for more scalability, and it will enable us to empower 10,000 visually impaired persons as a midterm objective. So, be part of our journey by connecting us with new partners, helping us secure $50,000 USD, or maybe helping us to apply successfully to the Remarkable Accelerator. You can contact us via email, WhatsApp, or just scan the QR code. Thank you for your attention, we will be waiting for your message.

[23:37] Monzurul Alam from RehabExo
Hi, we are RehabExo, and we would like to introduce you to our Rehab ExoSuit, a soft exoskeleton for bringing bigger smiles on people’s faces. According to the World Health Organization, over 75 million people are dependent on their wheelchairs because of disabilities resulting from stroke, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, or other medical conditions. Around 80% of people with disabilities are of working age, yet only 50% of them can afford an assisted device. Additionally, 49% of children with disabilities are more likely to never attend school, and around 51% report feeling unhappy. Hence, developing an assistive device to help them regain functional independence and participate in society is essential. Exoskeleton robots have been developed and tested in recent years, however, these exoskeletons are bulky, heavy, expensive, and cumbersome to use. Furthermore, most of them are not designed for children. With the vision of providing an affordable solution for all age groups to support walking and standing, by combining fabric and soft robotics technology, we have designed a lightweight and comfortable exosuit. Currently, we are looking for health professionals to help us test and validate our design for people with paralysis. For more information, please visit our website at rehabexo.com. Thanks.

[25:10] Justin Fong from Rehapp
Hi, I’m Justin, and my dad just turned 70. It turns out he doesn’t really want to know he’s getting older, and honestly, neither do I. But there’s a reasonable chance, now one in three, in fact, that he will fall this year, and if he does, it could be one of the 670 people in Australia hospitalised every day as a result of a fall, or unthinkably, one of the 15 that die. The good news is that many falls are preventable. Exercise programs, environmental modifications, changes to medication, or even footwear can help reduce falls by more than 40%. The problem is, it’s really hard for us to know when our risk of falls is increasing, especially as we get older, and so it’s really hard for us to know when to implement these potentially life-saving changes. At Rehapp, we’re solving this problem. We’ve developed a simple device that attaches to a walking stick that measures how we walk. When things start to get a little bit wobbly, we connect with clinicians so that they can help us stay on our feet. We’re currently validating our solution with studies at the University of Melbourne and have two clinics lined up to try the device, once it’s ready. We’ve also received $95,000 worth of funding to help commercialise our solution. We’d love to connect with clinicians working with those at risk of falls. Please reach out to us on social media and join us in our mission to keep our most treasured community members on their feet and protect them from the risk that they can’t see.

[26:43] Pete Horsley from Remarkable
What incredible pictures we’ve heard so far. Good morning, good evening, good afternoon everyone. My name is Pete Horsley, a 40-something-year-old male wearing a leather hat, a black T-shirt that does have a Remarkable logo on it, and a green jacket. I’m the founder of Remarkable, and it gives me great pleasure to extend my welcome to everyone who’s with us today. Firstly, I want to extend that especially to the founders who have worked so incredibly hard over the last eight weeks to get to this point of pitching to customers and other stakeholders. We can see your passion through your pitches so far, we’ve got lots more to come. But we also see how you are bringing your experience to really important problems, and we’re seeing the ways as well that you’ve been incredible supporters of each other. You all represent some of the best emerging disability tech in the world right now, and we also welcome their supporters, their family, their friends, and potential customers as well. We’re incredibly proud of what you’ve achieved. I also just want to say a massive thank you to Emma Earley, part of the Remarkable team who’s headed up this program. She started with us just 12 weeks ago, can you believe that? And she’s been an incredibly important addition to our team and she’s done such a great job, certainly with the support of Cynthia and George, Kirilly and Viv, Liza, and Kate as well. But you’ve all done an incredible job with this program. I do want to say a special welcome to our coaches as well, we could not run this program without you. We always say that it takes a village to raise a startup, and certainly, that’s the case in this program. These 38 images of people that you can see on your screen are the wonderful coaches that have shared their time, their energy, and expertise to support these startups, to hold them accountable but to also encourage them. It’s a really tough journey to start something from scratch. Each of them are incredibly busy people, and they dedicate their time and energy to help these founders. So, in whatever way is appropriate for you, let’s celebrate these coaches. You can either give them an emoji, give them a round of applause, or just send some positive thoughts their way. They are amazing people. Thanks to all our coaches. Also, Launcher is only possible with the support of our partners, and in particular, TPG Telecom Foundation. Here is Jonathan Kirkham, Head of the TPG Telecom Foundation, with a short message for you

[29:41] Jonathan Kirkham from TPG Telecom Foundation
Hello everybody, my name’s Jonathan, or you can call me Jonno. I’m the Head of the TPG Telecom Foundation. I’m wearing a black T-shirt, I’ve got a bit of a scraggly beard, and I’ve got a bit of a scratch on my forehead here, which you might not see. That’s from my four-year-old daughter who got a bit carried away playing ‘What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf’ with me only a couple of days ago. I can’t believe we are already here at the end of Launcher, these eight weeks have truly flown by. We are so proud here at TPG Telecom to be funding Launcher. Funding and investing in innovation and technology is absolutely core to our business. The cohort this year, all of you that are part of Launcher, is so diverse. Everything from off-road beach wheelchairs to making events and music events more accessible, through to makeup, through to gaming devices – the list goes on. It really is incredible what you’re all doing to solve some of the challenges that people are facing on your quest to make the world a more accessible place. Thank you to all of you, and I hope it’s been an amazing learning experience for you too. I know that Pete and Emma and the whole team at Remarkable truly put everything into this to make it a great experience for you. Team Remarkable, thank you guys so much. We are so proud here at TPG Telecom, in fact, that we will be funding Launcher again next year. So, I look forward to meeting the new cohort next year as well. Anyway, that’s enough from me. I hope you all have a great session today, tonight, and I’ll see you all next year. Thanks, team.

[31:33] Pete Horsley from Remarkable
Bye, thanks, Jonno. Certainly, we wanted to be able to support disability tech entrepreneurs from the beginning of their startup journey. We wanted to help them create the right building blocks and validate their ideas, and TPG Telecom Foundation jumped at the opportunity to do just that. They’re an organisation that wants to support impact, their foundation exists to create opportunities to improve health and well-being and education, particularly of Australian communities. They’re really passionate about building meaningful relationships and supporting a vibrant, connected community. So, with thanks to TPG Telecom, we’re excited that they’re going to be supporting this program again next year. We also want to acknowledge a brand-new partnership that we’ve got with Toyota as well. Toyota is going to be supporting early-stage startups with engineering support for hardware startups in particular, and you’ve seen the vast array of hardware startups that we’ve had in the Launcher pitches so far. Through Toyota and the partnership that we’ve got with them, we’ll have access to up to 2,000 engineering hours. Watch this space for some exciting developments with that partnership, but certainly, thanks to Toyota and especially thanks to TPG Telecom Foundation for all your support. Now, I’ll pass back to Emma.

[33:01] Emma Earley from Remarkable
Now, I have to give it another plug. If you’re feeling inspired or know someone who might be, please register your interest for Launcher 2025 at remarkable.org/launcher. Oh gosh, I don’t know about you watching at home, but I’m just feeling so proud, so privileged. Like a proud auntie, sister, friend, whatever that relationship is. And I hope you are feeling a similar way at home. Get comfy, top up your drink if you need to, and please welcome another 8 incredible founders working on Affordable Assistive Technologies and Effective Real-Time Communication.

[33:42] Billie Stanley from My Ability Hub
Meet Charlie; he is 13 years old and like most 13-year-olds, Charlie’s biggest concern is the next thing on his social calendar. However, Charlie has an intellectual disability, he is nonverbal and cannot read or write. As a teacher, I have seen how the use of visual activity schedulers can help and support individuals like Charlie. Unfortunately, these old-school schedules lack flexibility, the generic images provide no meaningful connection, and the biggest kicker for me, they are so time-consuming to create. I knew there had to be a better way, and that with my lived experience, I was the perfect person to create it. My Ability Hub is an on-the-go photo calendar application that uses photos from your own personal gallery to create events, set rewards, and reminders, promoting independence and task completion. We are moments away from development, and we are just so excited. We would love to connect to any families or allied health professionals that would like to be the first users of My Ability Hub. Now is your chance, sign up today, get in touch with us, and we know that My Ability Hub will be the perfect tool for your family because it is the perfect tool for ours.

[35:15] Peter Hartley from Quick Styx
Hi, I’m Peter from Quick Styx. Our mission is to revolutionise wound care using a NASA-designed healing gauze. We’ve pinpointed two priority target groups, children born with clubfoot and athletes dealing with minor injuries. Why are these two groups? Personal experience fuels my passion. My son’s clubfoot treatment used an 80-year-old procedure and is etched into my memory. It drives my commitment to constantly look for ways to make things better. And athletes, we all know that the worst part of exercise is injuries, soreness, and sprains, which prevent us from keeping fit and being our best. Over 300,000 Australians, for example, grapple with plantar fasciitis each and every year. We believe that this tiny piece of tech can have an enormous impact on the lives of so many Australians. The Remarkable Launcher program has opened our eyes. The masterclasses, experts, networks, and coaches have helped me realise we’re no longer relying solely on benevolent philanthropists to make a difference. In 2024, we all have the potential to forge new paths to success in disability technology. How can you help Quick Styx? We’re currently seeking experts for a clinical advisory board. If you know wound care specialists or key leaders in sports performance recovery, then we’d love to speak. You’ve probably heard the saying that time heals all wounds. Well, at Quick Styx, we believe in creating a world where healing happens in no time at all. Thank you.

[36:48] Lorace Zhang from Vysm
When was the last time you had eye drops running off your cheek, and how rigid was the plastic eye drop bottle? 900 million people around the world use eye drops daily, and if it’s difficult for you, eye drop administration is a bigger struggle for people living with dexterity challenges such as parkinson’s and arthritis. My name is Lorance, co-founder of Vysm. Vysm’s delivery device simplifies eye drop delivery and tracks medication usage. Our user app provides treatment feedback to both users and eye clinicians. Our device is eyedrop agnostic, semi-automated, and designed for users. Our ability to provide connected care in the eye drop space makes us unique. Vysm received $100,000 to date which enabled IP protection, usability studies, and ongoing product development. Our prototype has attracted interests from key leaders, social clinicians, and our industry partner who were keen to support Vysm’s distribution of the products through clinics, webshops, and pharmacies. As a team of clinicians, engineers, and healthcare economics experts, we are confident to make this happen. If you live with dexterity challenges, join our usability study to provide feedback. We also appreciate introductions to parkinson’s or arthritis supporting groups or organisations. You can reach out to myself via Lorace@vysum.com.au. Thank you.

[38:21] Tori Marshall from Teamy
Hi, I’m Tori, the founder of Teamy. This is me and my twin sister Georgia. After our dad’s heart attack, Georgia’s supports became more complicated with more workers and therapists involved. Like Georgia, around 15% of the world’s population live with a disability. Not everyone will need a team around them, but for those that do, supports often operate in isolation. Insights from almost 50 surveys show that 75% of people are spending up to 10 hours per week organising supports. It’s ineffective and time-consuming. Currently, communication, scheduling, note-taking, and day-to-day organisation are all happening across separate platforms. So, the idea for Teamy was born, a central hub where everything is in one place. Teamy will be a subscription-based, person-centred app, available on both web and mobile platforms. It’s designed to empower individuals to be the leaders of their own support team. Teamy’s innovative scheduler helps to streamline organising supports. Pick your support time, team members enter their availability, and the work is done for you. Other features include voice-to-text, progress notes, a news feed, team profiles, goal tracking, document storage, and messaging tools. The ability to customise app privilege settings for every team member ensures that it works for you. Our research shows a strong demand for Teamy, but we need your help to bring it to life. We’re looking for software developers and collaborators to join us on this journey. Teamy a future where organising support is simple and easy.

[39:58] Storm Menzies from By Storm
Hi, I’m Storm, I’m the founder of By Storm Beauty. I’m a female in her 20s, i have short brown hair and red lipstick on. My story starts with a stroke at birth that’s left me navigating life basically one-handed. But it wasn’t until I injured my good hand that I actually understood just how inaccessible the beauty world was. Suddenly, I couldn’t open a tube of mascara, let alone hold it steady. Feeling completely frustrated and with mascara everywhere, the idea for By Storm was born. By Storm is redefining beauty and inclusion. We have designed a range of makeup accessories that attach to your favourite makeup items to make them easier to use for everyone. That includes if you have an upper limb disability, poor grip strength, tremor, or dexterity issues. Our products were co-designed with the disability community, which is why we understand that makeup is so much more than just looking pretty. It is about self-expression, identity, and independence. With a potential market of over 13 trillion dollars currently overlooked by the beauty industry, By Storm is smart business. We are also NDIS registered for assisted technology. So, we’re searching for someone passionate about accessible beauty to be the face of our social media. If you know someone or have a connection at Sephora or Mecca, please get in contact with us. You can also join the waitlist for our products by scanning the QR code. Thank you so much.

[41:55] Gregory Mena from Seymour Accessibility
Hi, I’m Greg from Seymour Accessibility. There are millions of deaf and hard of hearing people around the world, and they often face barriers to fully engage at live events. Simply put, they can’t understand what’s being said because there are no captions, making them feel left out and frustrated. Our solution, Seymour, delivers real-time computer-generated captions to mobile devices at live events. Seymour has two touchpoints, first our solution starts with an application developed for live sound technicians—better sound quality leads to better caption accuracy. Second, we have developed an easy-to-use, mobile responsive, customisable captioning app for end-users. With the support of Launcher, we are excited to announce that we have moved from our prototyping phase into private beta testing. We are currently working with one public school and one place of worship, and we are improving our product every week with the feedback we are getting. Our next priority is increasing the number and variety of venues that we are working with, so we are asking for your help in identifying new venues that would like to be early adopters. All beta testing venues will receive legacy pricing when we launch Seymour to the public. Please visit our website to apply.

[43:30] Tessa Riley from Hey Jean
Hi everyone, I’m Tessa, one of the co-founders at Hey Jean. Growing up in the ’90s, my older sister Stephanie was diagnosed with Edwards syndrome, which was a massive shock for my parents. She had a lot of help and support from support workers and allied health providers, but back then, care providers didn’t use any technology to track her progress or keep us informed. Fast forward 30 years, and it’s sadly still the same situation. Australian service providers spend more time on running their businesses than with their clients and participants. They have a lot of paperwork and reporting to do but no time to do it. The industry lacks affordable tech, so businesses either build their own clunky software or they use pen and paper methods to manage their staff and clients, which means that at the end of the day, there’s no real-time communication or updates. We’re building a care management tool that is purpose-built for the NDIS and aged care sector. Our technology will give small service providers all the tools they need to manage their client care, schedule their staff, and keep loved ones instantly informed. We’d love your support. If you’re a small NDIS provider, we’d love to speak with you and hear more about your business. You’re also welcome to join the waitlist on our website to find out when we launch to the public. Thank you.

[45:59] Gary Mansted from iVocab
Introducing iVocab, a groundbreaking augmentative and alternative communication mobile app that is revolutionising how individuals with communication impairments express themselves. Traditional AAC solutions fall short with lengthy setup procedures, outdated interfaces, and frustrating user experiences, compounded by user disengagement. Hi, I’m Gary, iVocab CEO. After seeing my own son struggle with the current market offerings. iVocab is about reinventing the AAC paradigm by providing a highly personalised, contemporary, and intuitive communication experience driven by AI. Imagine a world where AAC users project their own personalised voice, effortlessly crafted through iVocab’s AI-enabled predictive modelling technology. With every interaction, the AI learns, refining its suggestions and responses based on context and location and more. But it’s not just about innovation, it’s about impact. With over 100,000 users in Australia alone and millions worldwide, iVocab has the potential to transform lives and bridge communication gaps across diverse conditions, ranging from autism to cerebral palsy to motor neuron disease. Our next step is to participate in the Stoen and Chalk’s AI Sprint competition and further develop our MVP in preparation for taking it to market. To learn more, please visit our website at ivocab.com.au.

[46:29] Pete Horsley from Remarkable
Certainly, some more incredible pitches there. Launcher is part of a suite of global programs and initiatives that Remarkable runs. We’re a division of Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and for more than 75 years, we’ve been working with great minds from around the world to create impact and create a world of opportunity, particularly for people with cerebral palsy. But we knew to do that, we had to open up the world of technology. We’re relying more and more on technology today, and sadly, the benefits of technology aren’t distributed evenly to the human population. We wanted to start to shift the dial on that. We also acknowledge that throughout history, people with disabilities have been some of the greatest innovators we have seen. They have been problem-solving for a world that wasn’t created for them. So, we partner with the disability community and acknowledge that they have an absolutely key role in all of the work that shapes our futures. Since Remarkable began, we’ve now supported over 120 startups who have gone on to create lots of jobs, served over 186,000 customers so far, and attracted over $63 million in capital. This is a growing market, and we keep stressing that to investors that this is one to watch. We’re proud to say that we play just a small part in that. Launcher is just one of the programs we run, and we now have a pathway of support of programs and initiatives from idea all the way through to scale. Today, tonight, wherever you are around the world, you are the first to hear that we’re opening applications for our 2024 Accelerator program, which will have cohorts based out of Australia and also the US. Those applications will be opening next week, Tuesday the 2nd of April 2024. They are only open for a few short weeks, though, so applications close on the 29th of April. So, if you’re ready to accelerate your disability tech startup or know someone who is, please share our website with them, remarkable.org, and I will now hand back to Emma.

[49:04] Emma Earley from Remarkable
Thanks, Pete. So, this is the third and final section, sadly, of some seriously impressive elevator pitches. You’ll hear solutions for Smarter Homes and Communities, some ways to Enable Education and Employment, and then bringing us home are some tech solutions in the world of Recreation and Inclusive Play.

[49:23] Jason Woelfi from Button
Hi, my name is Jason Woelfi. I’m a white male with a beard, wearing glasses and a black baseball cap. I’m the founder of Button, and we are on a mission to make the future accessible. In today’s world, public transport remains a challenge for millions of people living with a disability. Simple tasks like boarding a bus or requesting a stop can be stressful, unsafe, and inequitable. At Button, we’re tackling this problem head-on. Our app Button allows users to hail a bus and request to stop using their mobile device. Button can then learn a user’s preferences and behaviours using machine learning and AI, resulting in automated journeys that are seamless and personalised. We’re currently collaborating with industry partners to test pilot our MVP, and we’re excited about the emerging possibilities. We’re on the lookout for connections, whether you just want to say hi, share your insights, or find out more. We would love to hear from you. Join us on our mission to make the future accessible. Thank you.

[50:28] Şafak Akinci from Facial Gesture Recognition System
Imagine you can’t speak or move your body and you need help at night when everyone is asleep. In such a situation, you will have to wait for 8 to 10 hours until morning. People who have motor neuron disorders can control their computers with facial movements during the day to express their needs. However, at night, their devices are turned off, and there is usually no one with them. By detecting with just a few predetermined facial gestures at night, their loved ones or caregivers are alerted instantly, reducing wait times from hours to seconds. Our system requires no calibration and adapts to changes in facial movements over time. Also, it can be integrated with other smart home devices. This innovative system functions seamlessly in daylight and in complete darkness at night, thus empowering those having such conditions to live more independently and safely both day and night. Your support is more than just an endorsement. By advocating for our mission, you are making a tangible difference in the lives of those facing profound challenges. Let’s unite to ensure that everyone can communicate. Thank you.

[51:59] Bahar Ramazanova from Altogether
Imagine a world where justice is a fundamental right for all, yet millions of persons with disabilities are left navigating a complex and inaccessible legal landscape. Laws and legal services are often difficult to understand and unaffordable. My name is Bahar, I have black long hair, I’m wearing a red dress, and I am the co-founder of Altogether. This is an AI-powered mobile application which aims to provide accessible disability law information, simplify reporting to responsible bodies, offers affordable legal assistance for persons with disabilities, and disability compliance services tailored for businesses and institutions. After engaging with hundreds of members of the disability community, our findings discovered a clear demand for our product. We are the winners of the Global Be Changemaker 2023 competition with funding. I invite you to join us as co-founders, partners, and investors to make the world a more equitable and accessible place for everyone. Please scan the QR code, visit the website, and contact me for more details. Thank you.

[53:28] Rafael Anselmo from Vinculo.app
Hello, I am from Vinculo.app, a Brazilian Tech of social impact. Did you know that 1,2% of the Brazilian population have some type of disability, and enrolled in public school? Have you ever thought about the challenges faced by teachers? Using technology as a foundation, we assist teachers in identifying the specific education needs of students with disabilities and develop a pedagogic strategy using AI. This provides a more effective and personalised learning experience. Our recently used case at Rock School in North Brazil led to the transformation of the education of over 75 students with various disabilities. During this period, we achieved school enrollment of 97.2% providing quality and available education for all. Come be part of this transformation. Thank you.

[54:43] Christina Chang from Geshido Corporation
Hi, I’m Christina Chang, CEO and co-founder of Geshido. Geshido is the AI Focus Assistant that saves entire teams from being busy for nothing. You may know that feeling of being busy Monday morning, you’ve got a nice list of priorities. 10 minutes in all you can see are Slack messages, emails, calendar invites, all those notifications that eat up your focus. While this is a frustrating experience for many tech workers, it especially burns out workers with neurodivergence, from ADHD, autism, anxiety to workplace stress, and these workers are composing a larger and larger portion of the workforce. Now, imagine having clear priorities with only relevant interruptions at every time. Geshido achieves this for the entire team with a secure Chrome extension. First, it aligns managers and their direct reports on shared priorities that stay up to date. Second, it cuts out noise or notifications across apps that do not relate to the priority being worked on right now. And unlike Slack, Microsoft Teams, or even Jira, it helps the worker focus 100% on doing real work, not mining for information in search of that work. We’ve already received positive feedback from multiple team leaders at our early customers at Aspiritech and Lyra Health. If you believe your team could benefit from Geshido, please email me at christina.chang@geshido.com for an introductory teamwork workshop and please join our waitlist by visiting geshido.com. Thanks so much.

[56:24] Lee-Anne Reuber from Second Skin Society
My name is Leanne, and I’m the founder and CEO of Second Skin Society. I’m a white woman with long brown hair worn down to my shoulders, black framed glasses, and a black top. So, you know how working out with partners, family, and friends creates more accountability and fun in your fitness routine? Well, what if your partner uses a wheelchair and you don’t? Are they supposed to adapt to the instructor rather than having the instructor speak to their needs? Our accessible fitness app provides multiple versions of each class and gives users the opportunity to follow up to two instructors simultaneously so people with and without disabilities can work out together. You know how you’re participating in an online fitness class and sometimes you got to crank your neck to see in order to understand what the instructor is asking you to do? Well, our app provides enhanced queuing so you don’t have to watch the instructor the entire class and so people who are blind or have low vision can also participate. You know how turning on captions provides a better user experience? What about your friend who’s deaf and relies on American Sign Language for communication? Our app provides classes taught with American Sign Language, and we have captions too. Our fitness app has been created with and by people with disabilities to provide an end-to-end accessible solution for those who are blind, have low vision, are deaf, hard of hearing, wheelchair users with and without lower body mobility, and their social circles. Our fitness experiences will leave you feeling empowered, valued, and included. Join our society today.

[57:59] Anthony DeVergillo from Our Odyssey
Hello, my name is Anthony DeVergillo, and I’m a white man sitting in a black wheelchair, using a non-invasive ventilator to breathe. Have you ever felt alone? When I was diagnosed with a muscle-weakening rare disease, I struggled with severe social isolation. I lost the ability to play video games with friends, I lost eating out with friends, and like so many of us, I lost connection with everyone during the pandemic. The pandemic may have ended, but my social barriers still remain. So, I partnered with Our Odyssey. This vision is to be a socially inclusive virtual platform that connects young adults living with a rare or chronic condition. We host virtual social meetups, develop software for accessibility, and raise awareness through our live stream network. Through Our Odyssey, I gained the ability to play video games again with the Overjoyed Accessible Controller. I gained the opportunity to socialise with people who understand what I’m going through at our social meetups. And most importantly, I gained a community that I can advocate for through gaming, music, and cooking live streams. If you have ever felt alone, I invite you to join the Our Odyssey community by sharing our social meetups, participating in our streams, and using our accessible controller in the #NoControllerChallenge. Thank you.

[59:37] Emily Drennen from Erge Toys
Hi, I’m Emily Drennen, founder of Erge Toys. I’m a 50-year-old plus-sized white woman with long red hair and chunky glasses. Erge Toys is a sexual wellness company that centres the needs of people with disabilities. Too often, we make do with products that aren’t meant for our bodies, or if we do find something that might work, it’s likely to be too expensive. We’re going to change that. Using ergonomic principles and input from disabled folks, Erge’s innovative designs will offer everyone the chance for radical embodied joy. Sex toys are wildly popular among American adults. Did you know that approximately 82% of American women own at least one sex toy? By 2028, the US sexual wellness market will surpass $10 billion, marking a substantial increase from $6.5 billion just two years ago. In the US, 13.3% of people identify as having a disability, while almost all of us will experience temporary or permanent disability at some point. Together, these point to a strong market for what Erge Toys is all about. We believe that everybody deserves sexual wellness. I’m excited to share that we’re prototyping our first product, a design I’ve wanted to create for over 20 years. Join our waitlist by visiting tinyurl.com/ergetoys or send me an email at ErgeToys@gmail.com. Thanks.

[1:01:18] Jay-Dee Pitcaithly from Sound Clusive
Hello I’m Jay-Dee, and I’m a female wearing a white button-up shirt. I’m the founder of Sound Clusive, and we want people living with disability to access and enjoy events just like anyone else. With over 10 years of experience in the events industry, I noticed just how many barriers people living with disability face when wanting to go to events. Sound Clusive is an online hub partnering with venues, promoters, and ticketing agents to provide accurate and consistent access and ticketing information, backed up by reviews from people with lived experience. With this, we hope to increase the confidence of the disability community and provide an opportunity to just have fun and create lasting memories with their families, friends, and carers. As we continue our development and trial phases, we would love to connect with people living with a disability as well as venues and event organisers looking to increase their accessibility at their events. If this sounds like you, please scan the QR code or visit soundclusive.com.au and join the Sound Clusive community.

[01:02:33] Emma Earley from Remarkable
Thank you so much for sticking with us as we ran a few minutes over time, but please join me in congratulating all of our teams and, in whatever way is available to you, well done everyone. And to our teams, thank you again for trusting us to work with you. To everyone else in the audience, thank you for being here to support our Launcher 2024 teams. Please reach out to them and connect them to your network to help launch them to their next stage of growth. Next week, we’ll be sharing a blog post with the recording, alongside handy links and each of their ‘asks’ for support, to make it so simple for you to connect with them. And that’s it for our Launcher Customer Showcase, but please don’t let it be the end of our time together. Are you working on an innovation that impacts people with disability, or do you know someone working on a disability tech solution? Depending on the stage of the journey, express your interest in Launcher 2025 or apply to our Accelerator program, which opens next Tuesday, the 2nd of April. Please share with anyone you know who may be interested. Head to remarkable.org. Thank you so much for joining us. Goodbye.

Shaping an Inclusive Future at Remarkable

Our Progress in Diversity, Accessibility, and Innovation

Hello, I’m Emma Earley – the Head of Acceleration programs at Remarkable!

This year, on International Women’s Day (IWD), in order to stay accountable, we publicly committed to:

  1. Prioritising discussions to identify where we can take action to improve our processes and practises that foster a truly inclusive Disability Tech ecosystem; and
  2. Share updates on this work today – which marks one month after IWD.

In my first blog post for Remarkable, I’m proud to share some of the work we have done, and hopefully encourage you to make some small steps within your own organisation.

What led us here?

It’s important to recognise that the team has prioritised and made incredible progress in the areas of diversity, inclusion and accessibility since Remarkable launched in 2016.

Part of Remarkable’s ethos is acknowledging that we won’t always get it right, but are committed to continual learning, growth and progress.

In late February, at our team offsite, it wasn’t all team-building lunches and paint-and-sip activities. Though, they were definitely highlights! We identified our team’s desire to enhance knowledge and skills to ensure we are more accessible in all areas of our work. We have prioritised training and capability-building across the team.

Then, throughout our Launcher pre-accelerator program in February and March, which supported 38 startups across seven operating countries with a range of accessibility needs, we listened to feedback on how we can improve our accessibility and inclusive practice.

When IWD 2024 came around, we had a number of discussions internally on what content we might create for you, our Remarkable community. However, we found ourselves stuck on what would contribute meaningfully to conversations and tangible action.

These IWD-related conversations uncovered an opportunity for us to solidify and build upon this work, and share it publicly to encourage collective action across the tech and startup ecosystem.

How did we approach it?

We approached this with a few principles in mind:

1. Momentum – keep it going strong post-IWD, whilst being realistic about achievable timelines.

2. Embedded, not an afterthought – we want diversity, inclusion and accessibility to be embedded in all of our work, not something that sits on the side as a discrete project. This is to ensure it is core to our way of operating, and to realistically account for resourcing and workload.

3. Progress over perfection – Combine long-term strategic thinking with immediate and short-term, achievable steps towards a bigger goal, and have a bias for action.

4. Accountability – dedicated staff leading the project and people responsible for specific tasks and mini-projects. We will share our progress with our community.

What progress have we made in one month?

The week after IWD, we surveyed and met with our Remarkable team to discuss how to approach this work and what to prioritise.

Quick wins (one month post-IWD)

1. Create a new internal Slack channel for this work to ensure targeted Remarkable team communication. [Completed]

2. Engage a subject-matter expert to facilitate an ‘Introduction to accessible presentations’ for Launcher program. [Completed]

3. Review Accelerator application and judging process to foster diversity and minimise bias.

  • Review and update application questions. [Completed]
  • Build and test application form to optimise for readability and screen readers. [Completed, and can be improved further]
  • Update judging process to de-identify applications and minimise bias. [Work in progress]
  • Define minimum standards for diversity of judges. [Completed]


4. Review our approach to Remarkable programming to ensure accessibility and inclusion is embedded, starting with Accelerator 2024.

  • Update Accelerator commitments and operating principles. [Completed]
  • Come along to our Accelerator AMA sessions this week to find out more!


5. Narrow down team training priorities, service providers and budget [Work in progress]

  • One staff member has commenced a digital accessibility training course, but we acknowledge we need to do more work in the short-term on this.

Let’s create change together

It can sometimes feel overwhelming to look at blue-sky outcomes and realise how much work it will take to get there, so we’re focused on making constant progress, no matter how seemingly small. Let’s continue shifting beyond awareness and inspiration on the day of IWD to perpetual, collective action that moves the needle in the right direction.

Remarkable’s next commitments

We’ve checked a few things off our to-do list already, which is a great start, but there’s
more important work to be done!

Here’s what we commit to over the next five months:

1. Strategy: Define the focus areas for diversity, accessibility, equity and inclusion, our key metrics and how to navigate competing priorities.

2. Data analysis: Review our current representation across all programs and stages of the user journey, and identify any data gaps.

3. Internal processes: Review, update and publish our Inclusion and Accessibility Commitment on the Remarkable website.

4. Training: Tailored training for Remarkable team members.

Join us on the journey

We encourage you to join us in this work and to keep each other accountable!

1. Please share your thoughts and feedback on our commitments.

2. If you have some commitments for action, share them on LinkedIn and tag Remarkable so we can stay in touch and on track.

If you’d like to be connected with someone working in diversity, accessibility and inclusion in the Remarkable community, feel free to get in touch at hello@remarkable.org

Meet our JK Fellow Fiona Murphy

Orange tile with text “Fiona Murphy, Writer, 2024 Fellow” alongside a headshot of a white woman with short dark hair. She is wearing glasses and is smiling.

Introducing Fiona Murphy

I’m an award-winning writer and editor based in the Blue Mountains, NSW. My writing about disability and accessibility has appeared in The Guardian, ABC, The Saturday Paper, Griffith Review, The Big Issue, among many other outlets. I’m a casual lecturer for RMIT University’s Professional Writing and Editing Program.

In 2021, my memoir about deafness (The Shape of Sound) was released in Australia, New Zealand, UK and North America. It has received praise from Helen Garner, Sarah Krasnostein and Bri Lee. It was highly commended in the 2022 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

What was your motivation to apply?

I want the world to be more accessible.

I hid my deafness for over twenty years. I was terrified to be excluded from interactions and rejected from jobs. Having a communication disability can be a stigmatising experience.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There is clear policy, guidance and recommendations for physical accessibility. Most cities and towns have endless examples of physical access — from ramps to rails, curb cuts to arm rests. But there is a lack of information about communication accessibility.

This is why I’ve created the Accessible Communications Collective. Having an accessible brand, content and sales strategy is essential to attract and retain customers. It creates a feeling of ease and inclusivity. It is also just good business. Accessible communication is good communication. It is clear and impactful.

What are you hoping to achieve?

Having access to community and accountability has given me tremendous confidence. Since starting the fellowship I have launched an email newsletter. It has quickly gained subscribers from across Australia and around the world. I have been genuinely blown away by how many people email me after each newsletter, either to say thanks or to continue the conversation. It is heartwarming how enthusiastic people are about learning about communication accessibility.

I have so much to discover about start-ups, but the fellowship is fast tracking my learning curve. It is a thrilling journey to be on.

What excites you about Disability Tech?

Digital accessibility.

What does the Remarkable community mean to you?

The enthusiasm and kindness is unparalleled. Everyone has been so generous with their expertise. It is like having dozens of cheerleaders on your side.

Stay up to date – Follow us on socials, subscribe to our newsletter.

2023 Tech Summit Talk | Markeith Price

Markeith Price | Provocation

Talk Overview

At the Remarkable Tech Summit, Paralympian and tech innovator Markeith Price shared his journey of living with optic nerve atrophy and the transformative role of assistive technology in his education. He highlighted the significant impact of accessible tech on his academic achievements and urged greater innovation in assistive solutions, especially for resource-limited settings, inspiring us to champion change for the future.

Full transcript available below.

Top Insights

1. Markeith Price, shared his personal journey of living with optic nerve atrophy and how it shaped his perspective on disability and technology. He emphasized the importance of perseverance and adaptation in overcoming challenges.

2. Price highlighted the importance of assistive technology in his life, particularly in his education. But he emphasized the need for more innovation and development in assistive technology, stating that while significant progress has been made, there is still much more to be done. He urged the audience to consider what more they can do to contribute to this field.

3. Price concluded his talk by posing a question to the audience: “Who would have thought?” He left the answer open-ended, encouraging the audience to reflect on their own thoughts and ideas about disability and technology.

About the speaker: Meet Markeith Price
Headshot of Markeith Price

Markeith Price

U.S. Paralympian, Entrepreneur, Content Creator, Business Developer and Analyst, Affiliate Marketer, Designer & Producer, Disability & Accessibility Advocate

LinkedIn: Markeith Price

Markeith Price, an innovative thinker. Markeith, is a Paralympian, Designer, Producer and growing Developer who loves to create strategies. Markeith is visually impaired – blind. He has never let the challenge stop his energetic spirit. Markeith strives to make a big impact on the world with his passion for teamwork and communication. Even through the challenges Markeith continues to Move Progress forward. He’s working on developing technology and solutions. Some of his studies consist of studying Music, Gaming Development Information Systems, Communication, Venture Capital and Private Equity. Markeith started a foundation called I C You Foundation Inc. In 2013 which started the Journey to his mission, vision and direction. Markeith wants people to know to never give up on yourself.

[Background Music and Markeith performing in spoken word poetry style]

This is motivation.
What’s up?
I’m pushing innovation.
Don’t stop.
This is motivation.
Wake up.
I’m pushing innovation.
Don’t stop.
This is motivation.
What’s up?
I’m pushing innovation.
Don’t stop.
This is motivation.
Wake up.
I’m pushing innovation.
Don’t stop.

[Background Music ends and Markeith continues his speech]

Thank you guys. That’s the first time I’ve ever performed. I gotta take a photo. So, Is it good?

So without assistive technology and accessibility that music right there might have not been made. So now we’re here. 2023.

I got introduced already but I will introduce myself again. My name is Markeith Price. I’m a Paralympian. I went to the 2012 Paralympic Games. I went to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, I’ve been to 7 World championships competing as a Paralympian and have been to 3 Para Pan American championships and just got nominated to go to my fourth Para Pan American championships in Santiago, Chile.

So, I was born in Silver Spring, Maryland and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and was diagnosed with something called Optic Nerve Atrophy. Optic Nerve Atrophy is a diagnosis where either your optic nerve is not fully developed, or you have had some sort of damage or some type of injury towards your optic nerves. And there’s many other ways that you can have optic nerve atrophy but those are the main ways and it’s a rare eye condition. I’m here to give you a challenge and provoke you all as well and give you some insight. But the first thing that I have to say is, this room is awesome. And I think it’s a special room for the last three days that I’ve been here. I’ve never been to anything like this before, and just speaking as a Paralympian, I know that’s a different space, and I would urge and encourage you all to go to a Paralympic games if you have not been to one yet, because it’s awesome. So if you have the ability to make it to a Paralympic Games, which is next year in Paris 2024, and then also there’s going to be one on our home ground in the United States, LA 2028 that we’re getting ready for and gearing up.I would say go because, as innovators, as investors, as founders, as entrepreneurs that are in this space, I think is important to see, to be a part and to ask questions amongst a whole group of people that are able to come out and compete for the same thing and have the same mission. Maybe some of the motives may be different people from different backgrounds with different disabilities. But I actually like to say “different abilities” I know we’re wordsmithing and finding different words but everyone has a different ability to do something. So I’m just trying to incorporate that into that. So,I would urge all of you all to get out there and find a way to go to the Paralympic Games. I know it may be challenging for some, but it would change your life and change. How you view things. If you have not been able to attend one.

I’m here once again to provoke you guys and give you a little bit of a challenge. So I hope my story, one story, will resonate with some of you or you guys, can take this home and just think about it.

So typically, I talk about perseverance and persevering through my challenges and persevering through, you know, overcoming and the embarrassment of things but still pushing forward through my sport in track and field. But today I’m not going to do that because I think the other story is a little bit more important for this space. I truly believe that each and every one of you all have a story that may be similar or different, So hopefully you all can resonate with me.

So, I was diagnosed when I was younger, at the age of 3, knowing that I was born with something called Optic Nerve Atrophy. My parents tried to do their best and being born in 1990, that space and at that time was still kind of tough, and it still is tough. But it was even tougher because the ADA just actually got passed when I was born in 1990. For those who don’t know, that’s the American Disabilities Act, and there is some controversy between whether it’s good or bad. I’m not going to get into that. But that meant it felt like there might have been some liberation for people that have been dealing with different abilities all their life.

So, just like any other kid going to school, my parents wanted me to have the best education, and find ways for their child to have that education. So eventually, I got rolled into being involved in vocational rehabilitation in my school because I went to school with sighted kids. My parents actually didn’t know about Maryland School for the Blind until I was about 6 or 7. And I had already kind of pushed those limits to what they felt like they could do for me. So I was in school with sighted kids and in my community that I lived in, I was probably the only visually impaired blind individual that anyone ever knew. So, this consisted of trying to get my education and that meant using the tools that were offered, which was learning braille, using large print, using magnification, and this is right before CCTV was really a thing. And CCTV is a projector that’s on the screen and you’re able to blow words up so that they’re really, really big. I’m not going to get into the technicalities of it but this was right before that time and so instead I had to use large print books, and this is where my story is going. So when it came to these large print books, my parents were told we have this resource for you right about third grade and I was excited. I was ready. I was like, “Oh, I get to be included with all the other kids and I get to be able to keep up and I get to be able to do everything else like the other kids, because I’m going to have a large print books.” So, the week arrives to give me my large print books and they come in volumes, just like a Braille book comes in volumes, which basically means is if you have a regular, I guess normal book your large print book consists of three volumes of those books or may consist of six to eight volumes of those books. And so I was excited, I’m going to, I’m going to be able to keep up, I’m going to be able to do everything else like the kids! So I get my book and I open it and I realize I can’t see the book. So, I’m like, “man this is what I’ve been waiting for. This is the moment…”

So a week goes by and I tell my parents I can’t see the book and just like any parent they’re trying to encourage you. Any good parent is going to encourage you, and they’re going to advocate for you and do their best. They’ve never experienced anybody else with a disability before in their family. I mean, there might have been a story or two, but they really didn’t know how to handle those things. So what they told me and encouraged me to do was, why don’t you use your tools? You know you’ve got your magnifier. You got this. You have that. So that’s what I did. And I was using my tools.

Year after year, year after year, things started evolving. Things started to change. Technology started to actually grow a little bit here and there. 2000 comes around, 2001 I went to middle school and get a CCTV in school and it did work, but unfortunately carrying a CCTV, this big old thing around school on a big cart was embarrassing. I’m trying to be cool, like who’s going to want to be friends with me? I eventually didn’t carry that around because it just was embarrassing for me. And honestly, when I reflect on it, a lot of the kids, they actually wanted to play with my equipment and that’s probably the most embarrassing part because my parents would say, Don’t let anybody touch your stuff and so they probably thought it was cool but in my mind, I’m like “my parents told me don’t touch my stuff.” So time goes on, you’ve got large CCTV magnifiers that aren’t really working for me and then you have large print books, then I’m still learning Braille at my vocational rehab.

My vocational rehabilitation teacher said it is going to be a little bit more challenging because you have some sight and if I haven’t explained my sight to you, my eyesight is with my left eye I have little to no vision, but I still can see out of it, but they don’t have a visual activity for it. So I can see images but brain doesn’t really pick them up from the left eye and then out of my right eye. I do have some vision where I can see about 2–5 ft, and then everything else becomes a little distorted, and then I also just adapt and kind of figure out ways that most of us as people with disabilities wind up doing. I know they can relate to that. Adaptation.

Back to the story of the books…So year keeps going year after year comes around, and I get to the point where I’m fed up. I’m like, I’m not using these books any more. They’re not helping me. They’re not assisting me. I’m just not. And don’t get me wrong. I believe that whoever created the large print books were meant for who they were meant for, And that’s probably somebody else with low vision, but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant for me and that’s okay. It wasn’t meant for me.

So at 15 or maybe 16 I got to the point where I said I’m going to tell my parents. I said, I’m not using these books anymore. I’m just not. I just can’t do it. I don’t know what I’m going to do. And, of course, technology was still kind of getting to a point where I might not have had to use a large print book ever again in my life, and of course, they did have audio books. But this was right before that golden age of audio books. It was like right before it so although I still had some audio books, they were hard to access and actually get my hands on it. And I absolutely love audiobooks. But this is about the large print books.

I told my parents. I’m not using the books any more, and this is probably the only time that I ever talk back to them. And they said, ‘Well, what are you going to do?’ And I was crying, I was like, I’m just not going to do it. I’m just not using the books. No more for like, 2-3 hours, just saying I’m just not just fussing at them. They kind of sat there and just said, Okay.

Eventually I figured it out, the reality of it is I actually didn’t figure it out, it was all the people that created the accessible technology that we see today. It was all the people that created the assistive technology that we see today, that we’re able to use from Jaws, to Zoom text, to having an iPhone and now android and having smartphones and being able to use magnification. I wish I could go back in time and take the CCTV that they have now because I would have been really cool. Let me tell you some of those CCTVs. They read to you. Now you can get on the Internet. You can post a video on Tiktok, posting your video on instagram so I would look and then you can actually fold. Some of the CCTV is like, Come on now. Why couldn’t that have happened for me? When I was in middle school and high school? That’s good, though it is here now, and that’s okay.

I have a few more words for you all. And I want to share this one thing before I get into the other words that I have for you are actually have been able to graduate with my master’s degree last year in information systems with honors for 4.0 in. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, And literally like audio books because the books were available, and I advocated hard for myself. There was one class I wanted to say, but I was like, OK, I’ll just find a bunch of audio books on audible. It was risk analysis. It was going to be a little easy class for me. They didn’t put the book in a version of audio, and I just didn’t have the time to actually submit it to the National Library for people with disabilities, which their process has really improved over the years for especially since they’ve changed the name from the ‘Library for the Blind’ to the ‘Library for people with disabilities’. So yeah, I was able to do that.

So a few words that I have for you are we doing enough? What more can you do?

I want to tell you all that I believe you all are awesome. I believe this room is special. Because once again, I’ve been to the Paralympic Games. I’ve spoken at many places of actually was able to had the honor to speak at the Executive office of the White House one time speaking about accessibility, but when I tell you the energy that I felt in this room and I understand that there are some other talks that are going on around the world, I truly believe that we can change things.

I also want to say that we need to do more. Especially for the fact that I know that I’m talking about books and technology, what I’m also knowing from my journey of being a paralympian that not every country and not every space has the same opportunity that I actually got to argue with my parents about having a large print book, and that means that we need to do more.

So, I think you guys are remarkable.I want you guys to continue to move and progress and I have a question for you all and the answer for the question you guys can formulate. The question anyway, you want to answer that question in any way you want to and the question is, who would have thought? And the answer is you are the people with the thoughts.

Introducing the Launcher 2024 cohort

We are so excited to introduce you to the 38 global early-stage startups taking part in our 2024 Launcher pre-accelerator program!

Hailing from Australia, United States, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada and Switzerland, the teams are about to dive into 8 weeks of weekly masterclass where they will be learning from disability and startup founders, one-on-one personalised startup coaching, opportunities to test their assumptions directly with customers and supporting one another with feedback and advice.

“Empowering innovation at the intersection of technology and inclusivity, I’m thrilled to welcome the 2024 Launcher cohort. A diverse group of entrepreneurs paving the way for a more accessible future. I can’t wait to support their journey and witness the next chapter of technology making a difference in the lives of people with disability.” Emma Earley, Head of Acceleration Programs, Remarkable

Launcher is made possible by the support of TPG Telecom Foundation and Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and the dedication of some of our amazing mentors, who time and again, give their time and expertise to support innovation in Disability Tech.

You’ll get to hear from and connect with these startups at Launcher’s upcoming Customer Showcase, on the 26th and 27th of March 2024. Register to attend the virtual event and perhaps, you too can make a mark as one of their early customers or supporters.

There will be two showcase sessions to fit our worldwide audience, register below:

Wed 27 March, 5:30pm-6:30pm AEDT

(7:30am CET, 10:30am AZT, 12:00pm BDT)

This screening accommodates the timezone of our 2024 Launcher participants based in Australia,Switzerland, Azerbaijan and Bangladesh. 

Thurs 28 March, 9:00am-10:00am AEDT

(3:00pm PDT, 6:00pm EDT, 7:00pm BRT)

This screening accommodates the timezone of participants based in Australia, United States, Brazil and Canada.

The Remarkable Launcher 2024 cohort

We are proud to introduce the 2024 cohort, see full list (in alphabetical order) below:


Developing ‘DrishT’, a navigation system for the visually impaired using computer vision, audio, and haptic feedback.

Location: Bangladesh.

Connect with ACME AI below.

2. Across the Cloud

Developing the Talk For Me app for alternative communication post-stroke and wearable sensors to track physical rehabilitation progress. 

Location: Australia

Connect with Across the Cloud below.

3. Aid Motion

Redesigning four-wheel walkers for improved manoeuvrability and user satisfaction in Australia.

Location: Australia

4. Altogether

Developing a mobile app that provides free access to legal information, offers legal assistance, connects users to disability support centres, facilitates reporting mechanisms for persons with disabilities, and offers disability compliance services for businesses and institutions.

Location: Azerbaijan

Connect with Altogether below.

5. BlissFlow

Developing a non-invasive urine removal device, providing a comfortable and effective solution for managing urinary incontinence in adults. 

Location: Australia

Connect with BlissFlow below.

6. Button

A mobile app transforming physical buttons into accessible digital versions for people with disabilities, enhancing their interaction with public services.

Location: Australia

7. ByStorm

Makeup accessories designed to universally attach to makeup items, making makeup more accessible for people with upper limb disabilities.

Location: Australia

Connect with ByStorm below.

8. Cortex

Offers a non-invasive, user-friendly cerebral blood flow monitoring and neurofeedback mechanism for home use, aiding Australians affected by brain disorders.

Location: Australia

Connect with Cortex below.

9. Embodify

Developing EmoteAI, a tool to enable those with verbal communication challenges to express and articulate themselves through character formation and journaling.

Location: Australia

10. Erge

Designing sexual wellness products for people with disabilities.

Location: United States.

11. Facial Gesture Recognition System

Detects eye movements and facial gestures to aid communication for individuals with Severe Speech and Motor Impairment (SSMI) throughout the day and night.

Location: Australia

12. Feelings Foundation

Digital mental health programs for autistic people.

Location: Australia

13. Geshido

An AI focus assistant that reduces workplace-induced burnout daily. Inspired by the needs of employees with often invisible cognitive disabilities, it minimises information overload to align and accelerate work on priorities real-time between employees and their managers.

Location: United States

Connect with Geshido below.

14. Hey Jean

An early-stage, women-led tech startup providing a B2B SaaS platform to help disability and aged care providers manage client care more efficiently.

Location: Australia

Connect with Hey Jean below.

15. Human Augmentation Lab

Developing NaviShare, a discreet, crowd-source powered navigation system designed for the visually impaired, offering hands-free indoor and outdoor wayfinding.

Location: United States

16. iVocab

Enhancing communication for those with impairments through a user-friendly Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) application, designed with AI integration and intuitive editing for quick, complex communication.

Location: Australia

Connect with iVocab below.

17. Lighthouse

Smart eyewear frames for the safe mobility of blind and low-vision people. Obstacle avoidance with fashion, wearability and comfort in mind!

Location: Switzerland

Connect with Lighthouse below.

18. Magnify Access

Bridging the accessibility gap in workplaces with W-PAS, a digital platform that streamlines the accommodation process for employees with disabilities.

Location: Canada

Connect with Magnify Access below.

19. My Ability Hub

Enhancing community access and participation through accessible visual organisation tools.

Location: Australia

Connect with My Ability Hub below.

20. NomNom Time

An app designed to assist neurodivergent individuals with meal planning, preparation and shopping, enhancing their dietary independence.

Location: Australia

21. Our Odyssey

Making video games accessible to all with a joystick overlay and software platform that enables play through mouse movement or eye gaze.

Location: United States

Connect with Our Odyssey below.

22. Quick Styx

Speeding up wound recovery in children undergoing achilles tendon surgery for clubfoot and other injuries utilising NASA-developed gauze.

Location: Australia

23. RehabExo

Developing soft exoskeletons and exosuits for adults and children with disabilities.

Location: Australia

Connect with RehabExo below.

24. Rehapp

A tool integrated into a walking aid that uses mobile technology to assess and monitor walking quality for stroke patients, improving rehabilitation outcomes.

Location: Australia

25. ReviMo

Designing smart mobility devices to enable individuals with disabilities to move independently within their homes, reducing caregiver strain.

Location: United States

Connect with ReviMo below.

26. RoPets

Providing companionship to the elderly and disabled through AI-powered robotic pets that monitor health and emotional well-being.

Location: Australia

Connect with RoPets below.

27. Sekond Skin Society

A health and fitness app designed around accessibility, so people with disabilities and people without disabilities can workout together.

Location: Canada

Connect with Sekond Skin Society below.

28. Seymour Accessiblity

Developing Sonic Script, an app that will bring real-time audio-to-text captions to mobile devices in order to make live events, such as weddings, conferences and funerals, more accessible for everyone including the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community.

Location: United States

Connect with Seymour Accessibility below.

29. Soundclusive

A platform designed to breakdown barriers for disabled event lovers, providing a go-to hub for them to effortlessly access venue information, discover events and connect with like-minded and trained event enthusiasts.

Location: Australia

Connect with Soundclusive below.

30. Tangible Workshop

Designing Getabout Buggy, affordable, customisable beach wheelchairs to enhance mobility for individuals with special medical needs.

Location: Australia

Connect with Tangible Workshop below.

31. Teamy

Developing an app that will enable people with disability and their supports to remain connected and seamlessly share information.


32. Testa-Seat

Pioneering custom seating solutions using 3D printing to make them more affordable, supportive, and user-friendly.

Location: United States

Connect with Testa-Seat below.

33. The KOBE (Keep One Breathing Everywhere) Robot

Empowering Paediatric Patients with a Novel Tethered Ventilator-Carrying Robot

Location: Australia

Connect with The Kobe below.

34. The Stomal Sponge

 An innovative solution for managing neonatal and paediatric stomas, reducing complications and simplifying care.

Location: Australia

35. Vinculo.app

An AI-powered educational platform that assists educators in the learning journey of students with disabilities and learning disorders in Brazil.

Location: Brazil

Connect with Vinculo.app below.

36. Vysum

Developing assistive technologies to improve eye drop medication accessibility and manage eye health for older adults and people with disabilities.

Location: Australia

Connect with Vysum below.

37. Wired-Differently

AI-driven diagnostic tools for faster and more accurate assessment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and educational programs for affected individuals, families, caregivers, educators and health providers.

Location: Australia

38. ZipperBuddy

ZipperBuddy transforms traditional zippers on upper body clothing into user-friendly garments that can be easily fastened with one hand. ZipperBuddy is on a mission to enhance accessibility, preserve personal style, and empower users with a transformative and inclusive solution.

Location: United States

2023 Remarkable Highlights

Collage of smiling people, a phone screen, group portrait, and a number 2023 in bold.

Wow! 2023 has been filled with hardwork, achievements and ground-breaking milestones. As we near the end of this year we want to take this chance to reflect and celebrate our collective success, so buckle up for this fast-paced recap of this phenomenal journey!

Check out our list below of some of the top highlights:

1. Supported 12 startups through our Global Accelerator Program

Twelve ground-breaking Disability Tech startups completed our 2023 Remarkable Accelerator (#RA23) program! These global pioneers received seed funding and honed their skills, propelling their revolutionary technologies forward.

Experience their journey by watching the #RA23 Demo Day recording!

2.Ran Design-athon in partnership with Soda

Thrilled with our 2023 Design-athon’s success! We hosted 120 participants from 13 countries who used inclusive design to solve community-identified issues, supported by our partner Soda and experts like Elizabeth Chandler. We can’t wait to watch this year’s three Design-athon winners continue their journey in our 2024 Launcher!

3. Introduced Scaler to the world

We were excited to launch ‘Remarkable Scaler’, offering funding and support from Seed to Series A for Disability Tech Ventures. With the help of Cerebral Palsy Alliance, we now support disability tech startup founders on their next stage of growth. Join us, transform your product into a thriving business, and start your remarkable journey!

4. Produced Season Two of Remarkable Insights

Season Two of the Remarkable Insights Podcast doubled the inspiration with guests like Vint Cerf and Elizabeth Chandler joining host Viv Mullan. Each episode celebrates pioneers transforming disability-tech and shattering conventional boundaries. Tune in for a voyage through innovation, business, and social change!

5. Release of the world-first State of Disability Tech report

We were elated to contribute to the first-ever report on the Disability Innovation Ecosystem! In partnership with Village Capital and JP Morgan Chase, we assessed global disability innovation hubs. This pivotal work, part of the Moonshot Disability Accelerator Initiative with Smartjob and Enable Ventures, is paving the way for inclusive tech startups.

6. Hosted our 2023 Remarkable Tech Summit

We celebrated a transformative week at the 2023 Remarkable Tech Summit, thanks to CPA and CPARF. San Diego buzzed with panels, keynotes, and workshops, all ignited by the ‘Liminal’ theme, pushing Disability Tech boundaries to create a better world. From innovative design to market growth and inclusive environments, we’re proud of each moment that made this Summit unforgettable!

7. Released our Launcher Program Hype Reel

We had the best time working with some of our incredible alumni to create our first Remarkable Launcher hype reel!  

The Launcher pre-accelerator program supports early-stage startups that are improving the lives of people with disability. The 2024 program runs February to March 2024.

Applications are now open and close in just under four weeks on January 14, 2024.

8. Winners of Market Builder Award at the Australian Impact Investment Awards

Honoured to be named the Impact Market Builder of 2023 at the Impact Investment Awards! Immense thanks to our team and our incredible community of supporters. This accolade underlines our dedication to driving sector growth and fostering collaborative innovation. Congrats to all amazing nominees and winners who share this journey!

9. Welcomed three new team members

Our Remarkable team grew even brighter with the addition of three amazing new members: 

Cinthya Zurita,
Operations Manager

Kirilly Conroy
Digital Campaigns & Engagement Manager.

Zara Fulton,
Head of Investment

And there you have it, folks! A thrilling wrap-up of an unforgettable year here at Remarkable. We’re brimming with gratitude and joy as we stand at the end of 2023, looking back at the milestones we’ve achieved together.

On behalf of Cerebral Palsy Alliance, we send a special thanks to our partners icare NSW, Telstra, Vivcourt, TPG Telecom Foundation and The Ian Potter Foundation.

It’s also important that we thank the community of Remarkable supporters including our startup founders, mentors, coaches, facilitators, friends and the extended Remarkable family!

Your ongoing support for what we do has been critical for pushing us further towards our shared vision. So, here’s a massive thank you to our remarkable community— you are indeed the heart of all we do!

Until next time, keep being remarkable.

2023 Tech Summit Talk | Minnie Baragwanath


Talk Overview

In this enriching interview, Vivien Mullan and Minnie Baragwanath discuss the societal implications of inaccessible designs for disabled individuals or ‘access citizens’. Minnie shares her perspective on how disabled people become ‘shock absorbers’ for the inconvenience created by unaccommodating designs. Based on her personal experiences, she speaks out on the mental and physical cost of living in an inaccessible society. Furthermore, she also touches on issues of withholding support and power, stressing the need for radical social change and innovation that includes disabled individuals as active participants.

Full transcript available below.

Top Insights

1. The Disability community as shock absorbers: Minnie introduces the concept of disabled people serving as ‘shock absorbers’ for the inconveniences caused by inaccessible societal designs.

2. Cost of Inaccessibility: She highlights the overlooked costs that inaccessible societies impose on disabled people in their day-to-day lives.

3. Withholding Support and Power: Discussion on societal tendencies to withhold support, resources, and power from disabled people, which hinders the development of a more inclusive society.

4. Need for Radical Social Change: Minnie underscores the importance of radical social change to ensure the full inclusion of disabled individuals in innovation, design, and entrepreneurship sectors, leading to a more accessible future.

About the speaker: Meet Minnie Baragwanath
Headshot of Minnie Baragwanath

Minnie Baragwanath

Author, Social Entrepreneur & Access Innovator
Chief Possibility Officer at the Global Centre of Possibility

LinkedIn: Minnie Baragwanath MNZM

Minnie Baragwanath is an independent author, coach, consultant and social innovator. In addition to the variety of work she has underway globally, Minnie is also currently the Chief Possibility Officer and Founder of the newly established Global Centre of Possibility @ AUT.

In 2011 she, along with her incredible team and Board established Be. Accessible, a social change agency committed to the creation of a 100% accessible Aotearoa particularly for the 25% of people living with an access need. In 2019 Minnie led the transformation of Be. Accessible into the Be. Lab and in 2020 established what was to become the Global Centre of Possibility @ AUT.

Minnie’s focus on Possibility, with its unique emphasis on “Possibility leadership, design and innovation” as the key to future social transformation, is the next chapter in that pioneering story! ‘Possibility Leadership is the capacity to imagine and create a future of possibility, beyond current limiting paradigms, and beyond current concepts of disability and accessibility.’

The concept of “designing with” is absolutely fundamental to this approach. It is distinct from designing to or designing for which are the common defaults when approaching any type of design with the access community.

Minnie’s work and study as an access innovator and as a social entrepreneur, extends over 25- years and has included many diverse roles. Over the last few years Minnie has been awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit, the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award, the Westpac Women of Influence Diversity award, the Zonta women’s award and was placed as a top 10 finalist for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.

Earlier this year Minnie published her first book titled ‘Blindingly Obvious – The beautiful vision of Minnie B.’ More information about where to purchase this book is available at, https://www.minnieb.co.nz/blindingly-obvious

Viv [00:00 – 00:39]
I thought before we get into our conversation one of the amazing things about you is your use of language you’re an amazing writer and an amazing speaker and I understand this is a really safe space for people to choose language that feels right for them. Remarkable use the term ‘Disability Tech’ and I know that this is a term that you don’t choose to adopt and you use terms terms like ‘Human Tech’ and ‘Access Citizens’ and I just thought before we dive into the conversation maybe you’d like to speak to that a little bit more?

Minnie [00:39 – 02:56]
Sure Viv and look thank you so much for having me as part of this amazing event. I’m so devastated that I couldn’t be there at the last minute. So probably what I’d say is language is so pivotal especially when it comes to social change at I think conveying what it is we’re trying to achieve and so I think there’s a range of language that people can use and I think the critical thing is to understand why we choose to use the language we use. What’s that about. What is it conveying? Is it a language we can grow into or is it an outdated language that perhaps once served a purpose and was really powerful but maybe needs to keep evolving? So for me it’s about the ability to keep questioning and being very intentional about the language and why we use it. I quite love the concept of ‘Possibility-Tech’, ‘Possibility-Design’, and ‘Possibility -Leadership’ which is about future centered accessible design and Innovation, that’s a framework that I personally really relate to and it makes sense to me as I understand the world that we’re in. Now that may not be the case for other people but I think at a conference at an event like this you’re exactly right this is the space to actually explore and to keep challenging ourselves on which language we choose to adopt. I’m very happy for a range of language to be used I won’t be offended but it just might be that I might choose to use different language through this conversation…and as a person from New Zealand we speak differently.

Viv [02:56 – 03:32]
In New Zealand they say “chilly bin” for what we in Australia know is an “eskie” and I don’t know what Americans call it? A “cooler”? Alright I think New Zealand’s ‘chilly bins’ are way more fun. Okay so when it comes to the language you use, one of the really powerful concepts that you’ve sort of coined in your work is this idea of people with disabilities being “shock absorbers” for sort of the inaccessible designs within society. Would you be able to expand on that?

Minnie [03:32 – 08:01]
So as Pete said at the beginning I’ve worked on accessibility social change for oh my goodness well for at least 25 years and when I was 15 I was diagnosed with a congenial sight condition which means that I’m also legally blind. So from that age I became very aware of what it was to grow up in the world as someone living in this case with blindness but it could have been any type of impairment or or disability and as I’ve sort of continued to try and advance my work and to try and strive to create a more accessible world, as many people in the room here today I’m quite sure have done the same. One of the things that I’ve been reflecting on is actually there is a price to be paid for being an inaccessible society and any of us who live with an impairment or disability encounter that price, that cost every day of our Lives when we’re prevented from literally accessing the world around us. What fascinates me is that we we often talk about the cost of, well we government business usually those parts of society who are unwilling to change, talk about the cost of making the world more accessible so they say we can’t invest in accessible Tech or we can’t invest in entrepreneurs with a disability or we can’t put that lift in here or there or whatever the conversation might be because it costs too much. But what I notice is we’re never talking about the cost of our deeply inaccessible world and the cost of maintaining a status quo which is not benign but is actually very damaging by its very nature. So that’s why I started to think about it and I thought actually those of us living with an impairment our families, our friends, our immediate spheres are the shock absorbers. Somehow we’re expected to absorb into our bodies into our lives that inaccessibility and it comes at a price and I think it comes at a price of burnout it comes at the price of getting sick often. I think it’s something we don’t often talk about and I think the other part of that is when we think about leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, CEOs, Founders who live with an impairment of any sort and I know this firsthand having been the founder of several organizations as a blind woman there is a price to being a pioneer and when you’re out the front pushing at the edges of what’s acceptable pushing at the boundaries of what society deems acceptable that also comes at a price and a cost because the way has not been paved. The path through the forest if you like has not yet been cleared so we are doing the clearing. We’re having to clear the path and one of the things that I’m really interested at an event like this which is such an important Summit and again I just want to say I just have such admiration for Remarkable for yet again pulling off such an a remarkable event to create the space for these conversations but one of the things I don’t know if we’ve truly explored as a community, and as a growing community, is what is the current price and cost that CEOs Founders innovators entrepreneurs who live with an impairment are paying to do this work right now.

Viv [08:01 – 09:08]
I think that actually echoes a few conversations I’ve had at the Summit and also to a degree learning from an experience of having to come to terms with the fact I put a lot of effort into masking to try and fit into roles and responsibilities as I’ve kind of navigated my career and trying to unlearn these behaviors and give myself space to heal and grieve. I think when you’ve done it for so long you get hit with sort of a postponed grief and exhaustion which is a bigger cost and I suppose one that requires you to be patient with yourself and to be okay asking people to be patient with you. Have you had experiences in your career where you have tried to articulate the cost that you have paid for this inaccessible society and it has just been received with essentially just shrugged shoulders and people not understanding?

Minnie [09:08 – 14:42]
I think the challenge we’ve got is that this is quite an emergent space right now so this area of Technology Innovation entrepreneurship and design in my mind it is the single most important area in terms of if we are to truly ever create an accessible future for the nearly two billion people worldwide living with a disability if we collectively can really understand what is needed to ensure that access entrepreneurs designers innovators and leaders can thrive and do their work well then I think we can create an accessible society. If we do not understand and if we don’t ask the question ‘what is needed for a blind CEO to thrive and succeed?’, ‘what is needed for a Deaf entrepreneur to thrive and be successful?’If we don’t ask those questions and understand what’s required in terms of resourcing behavior and attitude all of that then we’re not going to see the change that’s possible in the world. In order to do that I think we need to have some shared frameworks for having these conversations. I only really started to understand the true cost of an inaccessible world as a blind CEO after I went through cancer and then I had a very unexpected and quite shocking experience of heart failure in 2020. As a blind woman CEO living alone in my home in New Zealand but also still trying to run a progressive social change organization but without any support that I needed to really function well. What I realized was that we didn’t have sort of a shared framework to have that conversation and to be able to say ‘Hey how do we talk about this in a way that other people don’t feel defensive? Don’t feel criticized? Don’t feel like they’re failing?’ I think the challenge is when we start to raise these issues firstly as the CEO or the entrepreneur people around us who feel they’re there to support us might feel criticized and that’s not my intention. My intention is to say hey everyone’s doing their best but perhaps we need to be doing more or better or differently. But how do we talk about this in a way that we can all come to the party? This is where this idea came to me of what I call being able to take an approach that is based on this idea of how do we be ‘with’ as in ‘with’ our access entrepreneurs, leaders, innovators and designers. How do we show up with these key innovators in a way that we’re all actually set up to succeed and not trip at every hurdle that comes up before us. So it’s a model for success but it’s also a new social contract saying as the innovator, entrepreneur, designer there may be things I need that someone else does not need there may be ways of operating and running my organization or my Enterprise in order to be truly accessible that actually does not fit neatly into that government contract that I’ve just signed up for it might mean we have to push back on a whole lot of traditional ways of thinking about entrepreneurship and design that actually is challenging for other designers other accelerators because we start to disrupt everything around us if we’re being true to our way of working and so it’s not an easy conversation but but I think if if and this is why I wrote my book in many ways was because I thought actually I look back and I think if I’d had a framework from the age of 15 day where I could have talked to my family my friends as I went through education employment and then as I went out into the world trying to Pioneer change through my different organizations if I had this framework of weth what might have been different and I think when I think about this immersive uh immersive emerging space of whether we call it disability Tech or as I like to call it possibility Tech design and Innovation I think we need some shared ways of talking of leading and understanding each other that are fit for 2023 and Beyond. I don’t know if that answered your question at all Viv…

Viv [14:42 – 15:13]
it did it and one of the parts of this sort of social contract is this term ‘withholding’ and in essence and correct me if I’m wrong but the concept is that as we sort of entered this space with each other there are undeniably and sort of inevitably these people that withhold and are resistant to that change and those people are people that are outside the disability community and inside. Could you speak to that?

Minnie [15:13 – 20:02]
absolutely and so if ‘with’ is how we birth an accessible future and interestingly the word ‘with’ has some of its early origins in old German and it has to do with being a midwife actually helping a mother to birth something. So if we think about ‘with’ as every moment of every day with every decision we make we are either enabling or disabling the birth of a more accessible society. So I’d love us to really think about what does ‘with’ mean? What could it look and feel like in this area of emergent technology for this future? We are all collectively trying to birth but then the other side of that because there’s always an opposite is when withholding happens. When for whatever reason we and I mean “we society”, a colleague, someone working as a designer. a friend, a family member, hold back something that is fundamental to that birthing of that accessible future. That might be we hold back our support, we hold back our generosity of spirit, we hold back funds but what I find really interesting is often we hold back power. In my experience we’re okay with people with a disability or access need reaching a certain level but are we really ready for blind people, Deaf people, people living with any kind of impairment to lead this radical revolution of possibility technology? Or are we withholding that opportunity because actually we don’t want to give away that power? That resource we don’t want to give away to this community? Because for whatever reason we’re fearful. It’s uncertain, it’s scary, it’s uncharted territory. So I think often withholding happens and we all do it. It’s something that I think we need to become cognizant of ourselves. It’s when we put a chair in the way of an accessible hallway. It’s when we choose to print something in size font instead of something larger. It’s when rather than smiling at somebody we frown at them. I have this example in my book, it was so pertinent to me. I had this massive contract that I was negotiating with about $1.5 million for an accessible Employment Program when I was running one of my organizations and in those big meetings I pour tea or coffee for my guests – you know it’s part of being a good host just to be able to pour a cup of tea and a coffee for your guest. Now that might sound really small but actually it’s a fundamental part of building a relationship through a contract negotiation and the member of my team whose job it is to support me as the CEO in that moment and there was obviously something going on for them okay but in that moment when I said would you be able to pour the tea they felt that task was suddenly beneath them and they actually walked out of the room and I couldn’t see they’d walked out of the room but I keep thinking where have they gone? Now in that moment that team member withheld an act of support that was part of enabling the birth of an accessible society. That single act of withholding almost derailed a $1.5 million contract negotiation; those are the stakes we’re talking about. Sometimes it’s the smallest things like that of withholding that actually can have the biggest impact and they’re often the hardest things to pinpoint. We often look to bigger examples around funding but it’s each of those little micro moments that determine whether a new Enterprise gets off the ground. They determine whether a new innovation sees the light of day, whether an access entrepreneur can actually flourish and create a successful organization

Viv [20:02 – 20:52]
I’m going to read one of my favorite quotes because it’s great it’s “No matter how cool disruption can be made to sound I now believe most people do not want disruption especially if they’re the ones who need to change in order for it to occur the fact is that we all need to change for True access to occur no one is exempt. And I now know in my heart that very very few people are brave enough to stay the course as we go out and into the fire’ Now that’s a big quote and when I first read it I got genuine chills but I would love you to expand on what that means for everyone in this room who are are really facing this challenge of disruption in what they’re doing?

Minnie [20:52 – 25:01]
I think again I I look at the this through the lens of for those of us who putting ourselves right in the in front line of social change because you know everyone who’s here at this event no matter what hat you’re wearing we are part of a radical movement of social change and by its very nature change requires us to do things differently and it is disruptive. You know in the next part of that quote I say is that people and marketers will water this concept down all the time and they’ll call a new chocolate bar or a new type of bottled water disruptive and it’s like oh my goodness it’s so not but when you think about the Civil Rights Movement in America the kind of radical social change movements and protest that we see around the world every day, women in countries you know where their basic human rights have been stripped away day after day after day but who bravely come out onto the streets and protest that is disruption. Now I think the challenge for us in a space like the Remarkable Tech Summit is we have to remain brave. We have to remain on the cutting edge. The world of Entrepreneurship, the world of business, the world of design also play it safe. There are models right now and in the world of business and this is one of my big bug bears actually and concerns with the space that we’re all a part of at the moment have we yet created an economic model where the value of the technology and the Innovation that has been created comes back to the access community? As the designers and innovators and entrepreneurs? Because what I often see and this is a quote from an amazing designer Liz Jackson but many of the Innovations and Technology the acess community radically fights for the money that’s generated whether it’s by big companies like Microsoft and sorry I don’t mean to just point them out, it could be any company when these products get commercialized which of course is is fine – where do those profits go? Until the access Community has direct access to the resourcing to actually lead the innovation of what I call “possibility design” we’re always going to be in the position where we are waiting to be invited to the table, we are waiting to be included. This is why I struggle with the term inclusive design as well because for me inclusive design is often about those who have the power and resource inviting us to the table – if we want and if they deem it appropriate or timely. We’re often invited to the table in a way that suits them, not necessarily us. So I think we need to be thinking about inclusive design along one platform and then what I like to call possibility design along another platform. We need to be doing both. We need to be ensuring the things that are being designed right now have accessibility built into their DNA but then we need to be having radical possibility design that is designed by the access community with our own resource base, with our own ways of designing, innovating, creating, going to market that honors a truly accessible worldview and that is disruptive.

Viv [25:01 – 25:26]
That was a very powerful way to end this chat – I am conscious that our time is up but you have just released your book and a a round of applause for you. Where can people access purchasing your book, is that on your website?

Minnie [25:26 – 25:47]
It’s on my website. I think there’s a beautiful slide that I sent through with an oh I’ve never done a promotion like this but it’s actually so at Min b. co.nz so m i m m i e at

Viv [25:47- 26:03]
We’ve got it up on the screen Minnie, so people can it’s m i n n i e b dot Co dot NZ but we’ll share that with everyone. Minnie we’ll get you back on the screen and just say big thank you for coming and joining us.

Remarkable Insights: Vint Cerf Part 2


[00:00:00] Viv
We would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we record this podcast. The Gadigal people. This is their land, never seated, always sacred and pay respects to the elders past, present, and emerging of this place. Coming up on Remarkable Insights.

[00:00:17] Vint:
Yeah, there is an internet in your future. Resistance is futile.

[00:00:22] Viv:
If you’re listening to today’s episode on December 3rd, then Happy International Day of People with Disability, and welcome to the final episode of Season two of the Remarkable Insights Podcast. Today we’re excited to share part two of our chat with Vint Cerf. To start off, I’d love to know what does International Day of people with disability mean to you?

[00:00:40] Vint:
Two things occur to me. One of them is that we should be accommodating people with disabilities because there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have equitable access to all of the Internet’s capabilities. But the second thing I would want to emphasize on that day is that assisting someone with a disability doesn’t just help that person. It helps everyone that’s interacting with that person. And so if you get done doing the math, pretty much everybody in the world is benefited by any kind of accommodation because almost everyone knows someone with a disability and anything that makes them more able to work with the online environment is better for everyone, including the person with a disability, but also everyone who interacts with that person.

[00:01:32] Viv:
Yeah, it’s so powerful. And it wasn’t until you, I believe you went into your senior sort of roles within your career that you started to feel more comfortable talking and advocating about your lived experience with hearing loss. I would love to dive into that and understand that journey of how you began to feel more confident and why you needed that to be later in your career.

[00:01:56] Vint:
First of all for a while hearing aids were unusual. People didn’t have them, or the cohort that I worked with, I was the only guy with a hearing aid. There were awkward moments like, you have to change the battery, so what do you do while you’re changing the battery? And so I would concoct a little spiel to keep other people from talking while I was changing the battery, because I knew I couldn’t hear them. And then after a while I realized this is stupid to try to hide this. I’d rather have people know that I can’t hear, as opposed to thinking I’m stupid. So I got more and more comfortable by saying, look, I got hearing aids and if I may not I’d hear you if you’re behind me, or you should get my attention so I can see you and that you’re talking. So I got more comfortable with that personally, and then I got more comfortable telling other people, you know what, you should just get more comfortable telling people how to work with you, and the first question out of your mouth. Should be, how can I work with you best? How can I best facilitate our interactions and conversations? And you’ll find, I think that as long as you’re open and transparent about this, that other people will feel comfortable saying what they need as well. So I think over time I’ve become an advocate for transparency and openness, even though I do understand that. For some people, there’s a worry that if you disclose a disability of some kind, people will think you’re not really capable of being a hundred percent. We probably shouldn’t ask you to do anything too hard. Or you get the pity shtick, which you don’t want, aren’t interested in. But I’ve become a big fan of transparency because I think it aids much better interaction.

[00:03:42] Viv
And I know that Google does a really great job at promoting the work they’re doing in the DEI space and accessibility within the actual products that they offer. How does that feel for you to work with a company that is making so much noise in the space of accessibility and really driving that forward?

[00:03:59] Vint:
It has been a long journey. I’ve been with the company almost 18 years now, and it’s only in the last five or so years have we seen a real focus of attention on inclusiveness in designing and building systems that are accommodating. We even have a central team now, plus people that are scattered around in our product areas that are focused on that. It used to be a very small team. Now it’s a much bigger team. It still has a lot of work to do. And we have a lot of people to train. So one of the things that I like is that when people join the company and they’re going to do software development, we run them through some programs to expose them to the user interface question and want to remind them that that there are things they should consider when they’re doing the design so that it can be adapted to a person with color vision problems or just vision problems or maybe hearing problems or motor problems or even cognitive problems. We should be imagining how do I make this work for everybody?

[00:05:02] Viv:
And it’s such an interesting point. Working in this space and being, I call myself a Remarkable enthusiast. I just love learning about the space and I’ve been on my own journey of learning later in life that I have Autism and ADHD and coming to terms with my own sort of journey and how technology has benefited me in different ways, but also just how accessibility is this huge spectrum. That is ever- evolving and I don’t think you’ll ever perfect it, but I don’t think that’s the goal. I think the goal is to constantly be learning and being aware that you’re gonna have to keep improving. But I also get baffled why people aren’t as excited or enthusiastic about this space, especially in the tech space, and that we have to even make noise about accessibility. From your perspective, what do you think is stopping that, that sort of universal enthusiasm or awareness for why this is so important?

[00:05:57] Vint:
First of all, it’s hard work and if you don’t have an intuition about what you should do in order to make something adaptably accessible, then it’s kinda like a giant barrier. It’s having writer’s block where you’re trying to figure out how to say something and you can’t, the words don’t come out. We need several things to happen. We need for people who are designing and building these user interfaces. To get more exposure to what makes a good interface, what makes a bad one? The thing I’m dying to see are catalogs of examples of lousy interfaces and what you have to do to make them better and concrete Examples are great ways for people to ingest and learn what makes a good user interface. So you want not only to show them the difference, but explain to them. Why this other one is better? What is it that it enabled? The second thing that would be wonderfully attractive if we could figure out how to do it, would be a kind of user interface that learns from the user what it is the user needs. We need for an easy way for the user to either say or show what the user needs to make things more accessible. But we want the system to learn about methods that will make the systems more accessible so that after a while, The system begins to figure out for itself what it should do to make the interfaces work. Now, one of my colleagues, not here at Google, but elsewhere is Gregg Vanderheiden, been in this game for 30 years. He had a project called Raise the Floor, which basically says let’s make sure that the floor reaches everybody’s needs for accessible communication. He has this very clever idea. He said, why don’t you figure out a way for a person to explain to an operating system how it should configure itself to be maximally accessible for you, and then take that information and put that somewhere where it’s remotely accessible through the net. So if this particular user goes to anybody’s laptop or desktop, And is able to connect to the place that has its configuration information. They can download whatever is needed for your, any particular operating system. So it’s configured for his or her preferred interface. And so this idea of being able to essentially automatically configure a computer to meet your requirements, your access requirements is a very interesting idea. There’s all kinds of standardization that has to be done in order to achieve that objective, but it’d be really cool if you could do it.

[00:08:42] Viv:
That would be the coolest. It gets my vote. The tagline of this podcast is ‘ exploring how disability drives innovation’. What does that concept mean to you?

[00:08:53] Vint:
Oh this is actually a really easy question to answer. Imagine if you have a disability that you confront every single day, overcoming that disability. And so some of the most creative people in the world are people with disabilities, because every single day they have to go figure out, how do I do that? How do I solve this problem? Which is why I really love the idea of hiring people with disabilities because they’re really good at thinking their way through innovative ways to solve problems. I think we need to give people with disabilities more tools to help solve the problem. And we need to educate the general public and our businesses that almost everyone in the company will suffer a disability, even if it’s only temporarily, whether it’s a broken arm or a hand, or a broken leg or some other, stuffed up nose, you can’t hear all of those. Temporary disabilities will benefit from software and hardware that addresses the problem. And of course, then there are people with chronic conditions like mine. I’m chronically deaf. And having a solution to that in the form of hearing aids or special headsets or other kinds of things is very much appreciated.

[00:10:06] Viv:
This might give you an opportunity to restate what you’ve said previously, but at the end of these episodes, we’d like to invite guests to leave the listeners with a Remarkable Insight. So a piece of advice or something to think about moving forward. Is there anything you would like to share?

[00:10:24] Vint:
Yeah, there’s an internet in your future, resistance is futile.

[00:10:31] Viv:
I like it. I suppose if you’re gonna share one that’s specifically about disability tech?

[00:10:39] Vint:
What I would say to our listeners is that those of you with disabilities, please don’t be shy about being clear about what we could do to make the internet more accessible or its applications more accessible. And for people who are making those applications, please don’t forget your friends with disabilities. Make your applications accessible because you’ll benefit them and everyone who interacts with them.

[00:11:07] Viv:
Vint Cerf, thank you so much for coming on, and I’m so grateful that we got to chat.

[00:11:13] Vint:
Thank you very much and thank you for the opportunity. I really appreciate it. It’s an important topic and it’s one that deserves the attention that you’re giving it.

[00:11:21] Viv:
That is it for season two of Remarkable Insights. If you enjoyed this season, I reckon you could listen to it again, you could share with a friend or watch some of our videos on our Instagram. If any of the stories connected with you connect with us. You can follow us on our socials or head to our website and send us an email. Everything is in the show notes below, and that’s it until fingers crossed, season three of Remarkable Insights.