Edinburgh tech business Neatebox has raised more than £180,000 from investors as it continues to capitalise on the market for its Welcome app, which gives businesses and venues advance notice of customers’ disability requirements.

The award-winning business, which was advised in the investment round by Scottish law firm Harper Macleod along with angel investor and Neatebox chair Evelyn Simpson, has attracted the funding from business angel syndicate Equity Gap , Scottish Enterprise and a number of private investors.

A second tranche of funding will follow later this year, taking the overall investment to around £300,000.

Neatebox founder and chief executive Gavin Neate, a former Guide Dog mobility instructor originally created an app for use at pedestrian crossings before focusing on its potential to solve a fundamental customer service need.

He said: “There is a massive opportunity to scale up and roll out Welcome to the point where it is omnipresent and it is reassuring that our investors share our ambition to make this a reality.

“We’re receiving fantastic feedback from both businesses and disabled users wherever it is deployed, and this funding will allow us to really scale the business and reach more venues and hopefully positively enhance the lives of more and more disabled people over the coming months.”

Disabled people can use Welcome to let services or venues know when they are going to arrive and what kind of extra support they might need. Their phone then alerts the service provider when they book, when they trigger the building’s Geo-Fence and when they arrive at the venue.

Earlier this month the app was introduced to the Scottish Parliament site which joined Edinburgh Airport, Jenners, Double Tree Hilton and Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest among the prominent early adopters of the Welcome technology.

The new funding will allow the business to continue scaling up by growing its marketing, sales and customer support teams, as well as bringing in more software development expertise. Northlink Ferries is the most recent business to adopt the product, the transport operator introducing Welcome to all of its services.

Meanwhile, the original Button application for pedestrian crossings is still gaining traction and the ambition is for this tech to be integrated into every pedestrian crossing around the world.

Neatebox recently won the Digital Leaders 100 Award for Skills/Inclusion Initiative, and was runner up in the Disability-Smart’s Technology Initiative of the Year where they found themselves in the last three with both Microsoft and Facebook. This year it also finds itself shortlisted in both the 2019 Tech4Good Awards and National Diversity Awards.

Jo Nisbet, partner at Harper Macleod, said: “We’ve been working with Gavin and the team for many years and have seen the business evolve and almost reach a tipping point where the question seems to be, why wouldn’t you have this technology in your premises?

“We’re delighted to help them secure this funding package and support Neatebox as it becomes yet another Scottish tech success story.”

Fraser Lusty, investment director at Equity Gap, said: “We are delighted to be investing in Neatebox and are excited by both the potential and impact the technology can make. Gavin and his team have gained significant peer and user advocacy and we look forward to working with them as they scale the business.”

Kerry Sharp, head of the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, said: “Having supported Neatebox from an early stage it is great to see the progress that has been achieved to develop and grow this innovative business improving inclusive access to businesses and services.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the company, both from an investment perspective and through our account management support, to deliver its growth ambition.”

Written By: Ken Symon Featured in insider.co.uk – https://www.insider.co.uk/news/disabled-support-app-developer-secures-18782755

Dennis Relojo-Howell a mental health advocate and founder of Psychreg from Rainham, Essex has been nominated for the Entrepreneur of Excellence Award at The National Diversity Awards 2019.

The Breathtaking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral will play host to this year’s awards, to be held on 20th September. Britain’s most inspirational and selfless people will come together to honour the rich tapestry of our nation, recognising individuals and groups from grass roots communities.

The prestigious black tie event recognises nominees in their respective fields of diversity including age, disability, gender, race, faith, religion and sexual orientation.

Growing up in a slum in Manila in the Philippines, Dennis has witnessed first-hand how discussions about mental health are considered a luxury – which is understandable given that there are numerous other issues which are deemed to be more pressing.

Dennis’s childhood experience led him to launch Psychreg, a global mental health platform, in order to address the stigma around mental health. His passion in promoting the therapeutic value of blogging has led him to be recognised as the world’s first blog psychologist.

As a psychology website, Psychreg runs a blog, a podcast, and an open access journal, Psychreg Journal of Psychology.

Leading global brand Johnson & Johnson were 2018 headline sponsors of the UK’s largest diversity awards, attracting a growing list of supporters including Adam Hills, Graham Norton and Katie Piper.

Sir Lenny Henry CBE, who was previously shortlisted for the Celebrity of the Year award said: ‘Diversity to me means involving everybody without any discrimination. It means having integrated groups in society. It means fairness and total inclusion and that’s what the National Diversity Awards are about. Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated. You’re all doing a fantastic job, rock on!’

Actor Warwick Davis and human rights activist Abbey Kiwanuka received accolades at last year’s ceremony, alongside a host of incredible award winners.

Kick It Out, the UK’s Leading organisation campaigning for equality in football, beat seven other competitors for the Race, Faith & Religion category, and Rocking2Stomas blogger Rachel Jury was praised for using her impressive following to shine a light on urostomy awareness.

ADHD Foundation were commended for changing attitudes and improving life chances through tireless campaigning, and Action Breaks Silence were applauded for offering free self-defence training to over 50,000 women and girls at risk of gender-based violence.

Sail NI were praised for supporting over 300 transgender people and their families across the Northern Ireland, and Geoff Holt MBE scooped the Entrepreneur of Excellence Award for founding Wetwheels, taking more than 5,000 disabled people on the water each year.

Radio Reverb, Touchstone and Rachael Pearson were also recognised among some of the UK’s most inspiring role models and community organisations.

The National Diversity Awards receives over 25,000 nominations and votes annually. Founder and CEO Paul Sesay said: ‘As we enter our 8th awards season, The National Diversity Awards prepare to welcome a host of outstanding role models and charities to our family. We look to those who represent progress, spirit and resilience; and I cannot wait to learn about the wonderful work being carried out this year.’

Source – www . Essex – TV . co . uk

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