Jerusalem-based OrCam Technologies Ltd, which produces what it claims is the world’s most advanced wearable aid for people with impaired vision, has completed a funding round that values the company at $1 billion pre-money. The company's device is designed for people who are partially sighted, blind, or who have reading difficulties or reading fatigue.
The $30.4 million funding round was led by Israeli institutional investors Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd. and Meitav Dash Provident Funds and Pension Ltd. The majority of existing investors in OrCam have opted to participate in the latest investment funding round as well.
"This latest, significant investment round will fuel R&D efforts, enabling OrCam to further empower people who are partially sighted, blind, and have reading difficulties, including dyslexia or those who experience reading fatigue, to study, work, and live their lives with a high degree of independence," said OrCam co-founder, president and CEO Ziv Aviram. “We will continue to intensify innovation of our breakthrough artificial vision technology - thereby directly impacting the quality of life of our current and future users around the world."
OrCam's MyEye 2.0 pioneering assistive technology is wireless, lightweight, and compacted into the size of a finger. It discreetly reads printed and digital text aloud - from any surface - in real time. Instant face recognition and identification of consumer products, colors and money notes provide increased independence. OrCam MyEye 2.0 is magnetically mounted on the wearer’s eyeglasses frame. It weighs less than an ounce, and is the only wearable artificial vision tech that is activated by an intuitive pointing gesture or simply by following the wearer's gaze - allowing for hands-free use without the need of a smartphone or Wi-Fi.
The current investment comes on the heels of the December 2017 launch of the company's next generation OrCam MyEye 2.0 artificial vision device. “With OrCam MyEye 2.0 we have developed an end-to-end solution that employs Computer Vision not only in the principal feature flow, but also in the user interface itself,” said co-founder, chairman and CTO Prof. Amnon Shashua.
In January at the International Consumer Electronics Show, the second generation OrCam MyEye 2.0 captured the prestigious Last Gadget Standing award.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 253 million people - over 3% of the world population - is blind or visually impaired. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) estimates that approximately 10 million Americans are blind or visually impaired, with 70% of working-age blind adults remaining unemployed. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) expects the number of people with visual impairment or blindness in the United States to double by 2050.
OrCam was co-founded in 2010 by Shashua and Aviram, who are also the co-founders of Mobileye, the collision avoidance system leader and autonomous driving innovator, which was acquired by Intel Corp. in August 2017 for $15.3 billion.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 20, 2018
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