Stark is a startup that desires to assist designers make the software program and web sites extra accessible for individuals with disabilities, they usually’ve created a set of instruments that plug into fashionable design instruments and browsers to assist.
Cat Noone, co-founder and CEO at Stark, says she and her co-founder and CTO Michael Fouquet launched the corporate out of a need to simplify accessible design. “Stark has a really massive mission to make the world’s software program accessible for everybody. And we assist corporations supercharge accessibility from months to minutes with a quite simple end-to-end workflow,” Noone informed techaroundusa.
In the present day, the corporate introduced a $6 million seed funding together with the discharge of a collection of instruments to make it simpler for people and groups to construct accessible designs.
She says they do that by automated clever evaluation and by offering seamless fixes for each design and code as a part of the method. The Stark Suite of instruments is attempting to make it simple for designers to construct accessibility into their designs by plugging straight into fashionable design instruments together with Figma, Sketch and Adobe XD, and fashionable browsers together with Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera and Courageous.
Designers can verify for parts like font dimension, shade decisions, distinction, and alt textual content, amongst different issues, and search for probably the most accessible decisions, making accessibility a part of the design course of. Noone says that not less than 1.5 billion individuals on the earth report having not less than one incapacity. She sees making software program and web sites accessible, not solely a equity challenge, but in addition one which more and more includes compliance, with a rising physique of accessibility rules, not not like safety or privateness.
“Accessibility isn’t a small downside. It’s a part of what we name an organization’s inner PSA – privateness, safety, accessibility – and accessibility [stands] proper alongside privateness and safety as one in every of these three main points in software program growth that’s been ignored,” she mentioned.
Benedikt Lehnert, Stark’s chief design workplace, who beforehand held design roles at SAP and Microsoft, says the corporate is attempting to make accessible design accessible to designers wherever they’re working, which he sees as a serious distinction between his firm’s providing and different related merchandise, which are likely to cowl solely web site accessibility.
“Stark empowers software program groups to design, construct and take a look at accessible merchandise of all kinds, whether or not these are advertising and marketing web sites, SaaS merchandise, cell apps or some other software program,” he mentioned.
He added, “It’s a collection of instruments, and if you purchase into the Stark ecosystem the entire philosophy is that we hook into the instruments that your product workforce is already utilizing, whether or not you’re the designer, developer, mission supervisor or QA skilled, and sew them collectively into an accessibility workflow,” he mentioned.
In the present day, the corporate has 4 pricing tiers, beginning with a free providing together with paid tiers for execs, groups and enterprises.
The founders initially conceived of the thought in 2017, and shaped the corporate formally in 2020. They raised a pre-seed spherical that very same 12 months, and closed the $6 million seed spherical earlier this 12 months.
The startup presently has 18 workers in a distributed workforce, and plans to be conservative in the case of hiring, letting the market information them. Noone says from a range perspective, an organization that’s aiming to make software program and web sites extra accessible needs to be open to hiring individuals with disabilities.
“Right here at Stark a majority of the workforce is disabled. I’m a feminine founder, however I’m additionally a disabled CEO, and a majority of the individuals on the workforce have some type of not less than one incapacity, and we’re all very open about it. It’s one thing that we don’t we don’t shrink back from. We lean into it,” she mentioned. And it helps them construct a greater product.
The $6 million seed funding was led by Uncork Capital with assist from Darling Ventures, Indicator Ventures and a wide range of business angels.