WeWALK, a London-based company behind the world’s first smartphone-connected ‘smart cane’ for the visually impaired, has secured £2 million investment.
The funding round was led by London VC Nesta Impact Investments (that closed £50M and invested in solar tech startup Naked Energy) and joined by KHP Ventures, APY Ventures and Vestel Ventures. They were joined by angel investors which included the public via a Crowdcube raise and the Manchester City captain and German international footballer İlkay Gündoğan.
With this funding, WeWALK is planning to push the capabilities of their tools even further. The company plans to develop their products and expand across new global markets.
WeWALK Co-founder & CEO Gökhan Meriçliler commented, “WeWALK’s products are already transforming the lives of visually impaired people across the world by improving their mobility, but there’s so much more to be done. We want to scale our business to reach a wider global audience and advance our technology to offer better, more meaningful information to visually impaired people, older people, and anyone that faces mobility challenges. This VC-backed round will enable us to unlock that next phase of development and transform mobility for millions.”
Tolly Humphreys, Investment Manager at Nesta Impact Investments, the social impact investors who led the round, commented, “One of our core missions at Nesta is to help people live longer, healthier lives – and together with Innovate UK, we are able to put both grant and equity investment into some of the most exciting companies tackling health in later life. We’re huge admirers of the WeWALK team and really excited about the potential of the product to enrich the lives of those with visual impairments. We’re looking forward to working with them to bring their products to a much wider audience.”
KHP Ventures Co-Managing Partner, Daniel Dickens, added, “We’re excited to back WeWalk’s impressive founding team in their mission to help everyone in the visually impaired community to experience better mobility. As a joint venture from one of the largest healthcare systems in the UK, we look forward to supporting WeWALK to accelerate their traction and evidence base as they continue to grow in the coming years.”
Smart cane for the visually impaired!
There are 253 million visually impaired people globally who rely on the white cane, which provides ground-level obstacle detection. The company is on a mission to enhance the mobility of visually impaired people.
By equipping the white cane with modern technology and providing a fully accessible, custom-built navigation app, WeWALK improves the safety and independence of visually impaired people.
WeWALK was founded by Gokhan Mericliler and Kürşat Ceylan in 2017 in London. The team of 14 comprises 12 Turkish, one Lebanese, and one Filipino national. Also, there are a couple of women in the team. WeWALK has partnered with a number of high-profile R&D with the likes of Microsoft, Imperial College London and RNIB.
Transforms mobility with advanced tech
WeWALK’s smart cane uses advanced mobility tools and facial recognition. The smart cane can detect obstacles and vibrate to help the user avoid them, provide navigation prompts, and update users with key details like bus and train timings or which restaurants are nearby; radically changing how people with visual impairments can move around public spaces.