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HomeAI News & UpdatesUS Firm Acquire Israeli AI Startup For $99 Million

US Firm Acquire Israeli AI Startup For $99 Million

Level Access, a US corporation, has agreed to acquire Israeli startup UserWay for over $99 million. UserWay’s AI technology makes digital websites approachable to persons with disabilities. Level Access will be paying UserWay stockholders $98.7 million in cash under the terms of its merger agreement. The asking price reflects a 17% premium over the startup’s share price at the time of the market closure on December 28.

Picture credit: Level Access

UserWay shares, which can be traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, have increased by over 160 % this year, giving the company a market value of NIS 272 million ($76 million). UserWay will be turned private and incorporated into Level Access after the transaction.

UserWay, established in 2016 by CEO Allon Mason, has developed AI-based technological solutions to increase website accessibility for many of the world’s 1 billion individuals, or 15% of the population, with disabilities ranging from visual impairments to dyslexia. The startup’s widget tool detects accessibility flaws on a website or app and instantly changes the site in real time with just one line of code. The widget also offers improved usability features such as greater color contrast, font size modifications, and an inbuilt screen reader. Their focus is on making AI beneficial in Healthcare.

Portrait image of Allon Mason, UserWay's CEO, wearing a black shirt adorned with the 'U' symbol from the UserWay logo.
Allon Mason Picture credit: https://userway.org/team/

“This transaction provides our team with a great opportunity to bring our technology to a broader market,” Allon Mason said. “We are unified by a shared mission to make the world more accessible, and we believe this partnership will increase and accelerate what we are able to accomplish.”

Picture credit: https://userway.org/

With the change to remote settings and more people coming online, the COVID-19 pandemic made the requirement for accessible websites increasingly more crucial in recent years. Despite this expanding need, a recent research found that 96% of the world’s top 1 million websites aren’t fully accessible to persons with impairments. According to the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), one out of every four adults in the United States has some form of impairment.

Picture credit: https://www.cdc.gov/index.htm

About US Firm, Level Access

Level Access, based in Arlington, was started in 1997 by engineers who have disabilities and is a supplier of commercial applications for testing web accessibility. It is funded by investors such as JMI Equity and funds handled by private equity behemoth KKR.
According to Level Access, the merger with UserWay “will create advanced digital accessibility solutions to assist more organizations in beginning and accelerating sustainable digital accessibility programs.”

The acquisition is scheduled to wrap up in early 2024, subject to shareholder approval and customary regulatory approvals. UserWay is going to be delisted and incorporated into Level Access after the acquisition, making it private. Since its creation in 2016, UserWay has remained committed to assisting the world’s nearly 1 billion people with disabilities. This was accomplished by designing an AI widget that automatically corrects website accessibility flaws. The need for digital accessibility has been heightened by the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic since most of the most popular websites in the world do not provide complete accessibility for individuals with impairments.

UserWay’s paying customers, which include enterprises and organizations, climbed by 60% in the last year to 6,800 users. According to the startup’s website, its technology is installed on over a million websites. The acquisition is expected to result in advanced online accessibility solutions, and UserWay is going to continue its operations under its current name and brand as part of Level Access. The CEO of UserWay will become the President at Level Access. This collaboration is a huge step toward an even more inclusive digital world in which accessibility is not an afterthought but an intrinsic part of implementation and design.

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