BeSpecular was spurned from the minds of 5 smart founders who had made it into the popular Stanford Tech Entrepreneurship course. What started out as a neat concept, soon became an end goal and is now a budding company. Stephanie Cowper and Giacomo are passionate about bridging the gap between the sighted and visually impaired, not only because of their personal connections but because about 11% of the world’s population is disabled. And as November is National Disability Awareness month and 3 December is National Disability day, this is an important platform for us all to explore.
Look out for insights into the following:
1. The Founder’s backstory:
Despite Stephanie’s age, she has had quite a bit of local and international experience, around business and technology. And it was during her studies at Stanford that she BeSpecular found her.
2. Do I need to code to build a Tech Startup
Studying at the Stanford Technology Entrepreneurship course gave her the platform to find her co-founders and the concept that would become BeSpecular.
3. It’s a side hustle
The idea was born during her studies, but Stephanie and her co-founder, Giacomo Parmeggiani, had to return to reality post Stanford whilst growing BeSpecular.
4. How does BeSpecular work
BeSpecular uses technology built in smart phones to connect the sighted community with the visually impaired, helping them to be more independent.
5. Beta testing
Stephanie explains the benefits of Beta testing and gives some insight into how to get it started and how to find earlyvangelists.
6. When to grow?
When you have a great product, people will beg you bring it to them, but it is so important to make sure that you don’t lose focus expanding before you are ready to give the same consistent quality to all of your users. BeSpecular is managing this well, despite the constant requests to expand to new regions or languages.
7. How do we make money?
Sometimes your users may not be where your bread is buttered. BeSpecular is looking to become a Service As A Software (SAAS) company to make money, building communities within corporates.
8. Access is important
About 87% of the global population uses an Android phone, so if you are building an app, you can’t ignore that platform.
9. Segmenting your market
When you have a large total accessible market, choosing an area to focus on is always a good idea, before expanding to the rest of the market. BeSpecular has done this by focusing on the visually impaired, working on building a product to help them before expanding to other disabilities.
10. Being open (and able) to make quick changes
BeSpecular started out helping the blind, but then quickly realised that they had deaf and blind users, which added a whole new level of complexities to their process, but they quickly learnt what they could and made the necessary adjustments.
“It’s still human. At the end of the day, we’re still human interaction and that’s why we pride ourselves on our service and on people saying please and thank you from both sides for the service.”
“There are 7 billion people on the planet, and there are 1 billion people with a disability. So 1 in 7 people has a disability of sorts.”