In a groundbreaking move, UserWay, an Israeli startup specializing in AI technology to enhance digital accessibility for individuals with disabilities, has sealed a deal with US-based Level Access. The acquisition, valued at nearly $99 million, is set to usher in a new era of advanced digital accessibility solutions, addressing the needs of the 1 billion people worldwide facing disabilities.
Bridging the Accessibility Gap
Founded in 2016 by CEO Allon Mason, UserWay has been at the forefront of developing AI-driven solutions to improve website accessibility. With a surge of over 160% in its shares this year and a market value of NIS 272 million ($76 million), UserWay has proven its impact on the digital landscape. The merger with Level Access aims to further amplify its influence.
The global shift to remote work and increased online activities during the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the critical need for accessible websites. Despite this growing necessity, a recent study reveals that a staggering 96% of the world’s top 1 million websites are not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. This acquisition responds to an urgent call for comprehensive digital inclusion.
Unpacking the Merger Agreement
Under the terms of the agreement, Level Access will acquire UserWay in an all-cash deal, amounting to $98.7 million. This represents a 17% premium over UserWay’s share price as of December 28, providing a lucrative outcome for UserWay shareholders. The Israeli startup, currently listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, will be delisted and merged into Level Access, becoming a private entity.
UserWay’s Innovative Technology
UserWay’s AI-based technology is a game-changer in the realm of website accessibility. Their widget tool utilizes artificial intelligence to identify and rectify accessibility issues on websites and applications in real-time, with just a single line of code. Additionally, the widget boasts usability enhancements, such as increased color contrast, text size adjustments, and an onboard screen reader.
The partnership between UserWay and Level Access is not just a business deal; it’s a collaboration with a shared mission – making the world more accessible. The prevalence of disabilities, ranging from vision impairment to dyslexia, affects 15% of the global population. UserWay’s technology addresses this gap, ensuring that digital platforms are inclusive and user-friendly.
Allon Mason, CEO of UserWay, expresses optimism about the merger, stating that it provides the team with a tremendous opportunity to expand their technology to a broader market. In a world where accessibility remains a challenge, the collaboration aims to increase and accelerate the impact of their shared mission.
Rise of Digital Accessibility Programs
Level Access, an Arlington-based company founded in 1997 by engineers with disabilities, specializes in commercial software for testing web accessibility. The merger with UserWay positions Level Access to create advanced digital accessibility solutions, facilitating organizations in initiating and accelerating sustainable digital accessibility programs.
Anticipated to close in early 2024, the transaction is contingent on approval by UserWay’s shareholders and customary regulatory approvals. This timeline sets the stage for a seamless transition into a new phase of digital accessibility innovation.
UserWay’s Impressive Growth
Over the past year, UserWay has witnessed a remarkable 60% increase in paying customers, reaching 6,800 users from diverse businesses and organizations. With its technology installed on over a million websites, UserWay’s impact is tangible and poised for further expansion.
In conclusion, the acquisition of UserWay by Level Access marks a significant stride toward a more inclusive digital landscape. As the world grapples with the challenges of digital accessibility, this merger not only represents a lucrative business deal but also signals a collective commitment to making technology accessible to all. The coming together of these innovative forces is poised to create a lasting impact, bridging the accessibility gap and ensuring a more inclusive digital future.