BGF backs North East ‘tech for good’ business Recite Me

We’ve invested £4.2m into the website accessibility software business, which removes online obstacles for users, to support its ambitious expansion plans.

14 March 2023

BGF has invested £4.2 million into Recite Me, a website accessibility software business based in Gateshead.

Recite Me was founded in 2010 by Ross Linnett after he was diagnosed with dyslexia when he left university. Inspiration struck when he was working on a laptop with integrated assistive technology and questioned why websites weren’t already more accessible.

Ross then developed a plugin toolbar for websites that opens extensive accessibility and language functionality, allowing users to customise their online experience.

The assistive technology removes online obstacles for those with disabilities, visual impairments, learning difficulties and the population of older age, as well as those who speak English as a second language.

Recite Me’s technology has provided support to more than 5.4 million users across the UK, US and Australia over the last 12 months. This has resulted in the customisation of online experiences for all users, enabling people to read and understand content on over 34 million web pages. The company counts household brands such as Boots, Coca Cola and VW among its customers.

Commenting on the deal, CEO Ross Linnett, said: “We pioneered the assistive technology sector when we launched over a decade ago and have successfully grown the business to be a market leader, but our mission doesn’t stop here, as we aim to help millions of people access online content around the world.

“To galvanise our growth, we were looking for investment partners who shared our values and ambitions and brought their experience of scaling businesses to the next level. BGF was the obvious choice, and we look forward to working with them to invest further in our technology, team and infrastructure so our tech can benefit even more people across the world.”

Ross Linnett, CEO at Recite Me said: It was important to us to work with an investor based in the North East, who truly understands the lay of the land and is committed to backing the businesses based here. There’s a really exciting digital economy in the region and as funding options have narrowed in recent years, there’s a big opportunity for BGF and the wider North East tech sector to work together to drive collective growth.”

The deal was led by BGF investors John Healey and James Baker. Steve Nelson is the non-executive chair, and an early investor at Recite Me, and continues in this role. He is also a non-executive director at BGF-backed SaleCycle and several other international tech companies based in the North East.

John Healey, an investor in BGF’s North East team, said: “Recite Me has huge potential for expansion. Despite the fact there’s a growing population of people who would benefit from this technology and the increased focus on diversity and inclusion, 98% of the world’s websites currently have limited or no accessibility functionality. This North East innovation is having a life-changing impact for web users across the world, as well as allowing brands to reach a wider audience and enhance their customer experience.

“We strongly believe in Recite Me founder Ross Linnett, and the team he has brought together to support his mission of providing inclusive experiences online for all across the world through tech for good.”

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