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Essential Accessibility merges with Level Access to combine accessibility solutions

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The combined company will be based in the United States and will maintain offices in Toronto and Argentina.

Toronto-based software startup Essential Accessibility has merged with US tech company Level Access. The consolidation was originally announced in June.

Private equity firm KKR was the lead investor in the merger, through its technology growth fund. KKR previously invested $55 million in Essential Accessibility last year, and will continue to support the combined entity alongside Level Access investor JMI Equity. The amount of funds invested in the consolidated organization was not disclosed.

Led by CEO Mark Steele, Essential Accessibility offers what it describes as an “accessibility as a service” platform, enabling brands to deliver inclusive web, mobile and product experiences that comply with global regulations.

In 2020, Essential Accessibility closed a US$16 million investment round led by Lead Edge Capital.

In addition to its headquarters in Toronto, Essential Accessibility has offices in New York and São Paulo. According to the startup’s LinkedIn page, it has around 190 employees.

Following the consolidation, the combined entity will be headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, where Level Access is headquartered. The combined company also plans to invest in the growth of key offices in Toronto and Argentina.

Steele has been named president of the combined organization, while Level Access founder and CEO Tim Springer will serve as CEO of the combined company.

With the merger of Essential Accessibility and Level Access, the two companies aim to create an end-to-end digital accessibility management platform to accelerate the adoption of digital accessibility.

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An increasing number of laws and regulations have been applied to enforce digital accessibility. In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act often applies to websites, mobile apps, and other digital experiences.

For its part, the country enacted the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005. This legislation subsequently required private or non-profit organizations with more than 50 employees and all public sector organizations to make their website and web content compliant with the Guidelines for Web Content Accessibility.

“In our digitally driven world, online engagement is more important than ever, making equal access to digital experiences a fundamental human right,” Steele said.

“For this reason, more and more organizations are engaging and investing in digital accessibility. And whether they never prioritized it or struggled to achieve lasting results, our combined company will provide the best solution to support a long-term accessibility program,” he added.

Essential Accessibility’s Featured Image website.