eSSENTIAL Accessibility Startup Raises $55 Million From KKR to Help Brands Make Apps More Inclusive

Accessibility keyboard button.

KKR, one of the world’s largest private equity funds, announced it has made a $55 million business investment in the digital accessibility-as-a-service startup company eSSENTIAL Accessibility (eA).

Rising Demand for a More Accessible Internet

eA and its business rivals are rushing to take advantage of the rapidly-growing demand for an all-in-one solution as the digital divide for disabled people, and the number of businesses facing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) litigation continues to rise.

The startup company develops business products that help brands make it easier for people with disabilities as they are able to access a more inclusive website or application. Moreover, companies are then able to comply with regulations as authorities work to ensure that this group of people can access websites and apps in an easy manner.

“As our dependency on digital connection increases, inclusive experiences have never been more critical – a need we are laser-focused on addressing,” said Mark Steele, co-founder and chief executive officer of the startup company.

It is believed there are over 1.7 billion websites and mobile apps in the world today, with half a million new websites launching each day. However, most of those websites include barriers for people with disabilities, resulting in increasing criticism and a number of legal claims against companies that are responsible for addressing this issue.

eA’s all-in-one solution offers the technology and training required for improving the accessibility from design to code. The startup company plans to use financial and strategic support from KKR to further improve technology and make processes and human expertise even faster.

The powerful platform developed by the startup company was created to make sure websites, mobile applications, and software products provide a better user experience for disabled people. The technology makes it easier for organizations to reach and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements through conformance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

This is one of the key reasons why KKR decided to make a business investment in the startup company. According to Ben Pederson, principal at KKR, the startup company “provides companies with a complete platform of technology capabilities, user experience design and DevOps integrations, subject matter experts, legal guidance and training, helping them become truly accessible to people with disabilities.”

KKR has made this business investment in the startup company through its “Next Generation Technology Growth Fund II,” a global venture capital (VC) fund focused on startup companies in the tech industry.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1 billion people live with some form of disability around the globe. Unfortunately, this number keeps rising “due to demographic trends and increases in chronic health conditions, among other causes.”

The WHO estimates that almost 190 million people (3.8% of the total population) who are 15 years and older have “significant” difficulties in functioning, which then requires healthcare services. Hence, solutions developed by eA address a key area in the rapidly-growing business market.


Tech startup company eSSENTIAL Accessibility has raised $55 million from the private equity company KKR to ramp up its efforts in making the internet a more accessible place for people with disabilities.

Adriaan Brits

As an analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in Advanced Analytics & Media.

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