In a significant move to enhance digital accessibility for individuals with disabilities, Arlington-based Level Access has entered into an agreement to acquire Israeli startup UserWay in a cash deal valued at nearly $99 million. The acquisition underscores the growing importance of web accessibility, particularly in the context of the global shift to online platforms and the imperative to make digital spaces inclusive for everyone.

Understanding the Deal

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Level Access will pay $98.7 million to UserWay shareholders, constituting a premium of 17% over the startup’s share price as of the market close on December 28. UserWay, a company listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, has witnessed remarkable growth, with its shares surging over 160% in the current year, resulting in a market value of NIS 272 million ($76 million).

Following the transaction, UserWay will be taken private and integrated into Level Access, aligning the strengths of both entities to advance their shared mission of making digital spaces more accessible.

UserWay’s Innovative Solutions

Founded in 2016 by CEO Allon Mason, UserWay has been at the forefront of developing AI-based technology solutions to enhance website accessibility for individuals with disabilities. The startup’s widget tool employs artificial intelligence to identify accessibility issues on websites or apps and automatically rectifies them with a single line of code in real-time.

Key features of UserWay’s widget tool include:

AI-Powered Accessibility: The tool detects and addresses accessibility issues, catering to diverse disabilities, from vision impairment to dyslexia.
Real-Time Fixes: Users can implement fixes on a website or app promptly with a single line of code, ensuring accessibility improvements in real-time.
Enhanced Usability Features: The widget offers additional usability enhancements such as increased color contrast, text size adjustments, and an onboard screen reader.

“This transaction provides our team with a great opportunity to bring our technology to a broader market. 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,” stated Allon Mason, CEO of UserWay.

The Growing Importance of Web Accessibility

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical need for accessible websites as remote work and increased online activities have become the norm. However, a recent study reveals that 96% of the world’s top 1 million websites are not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. This highlights the urgency for technological solutions that bridge this accessibility gap.

In the United States alone, one in four adults has some form of disability, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The acquisition of UserWay by Level Access aligns with the broader mission of creating a more inclusive digital environment for all individuals, regardless of their abilities.

Level Access and Continued Commitment

Level Access, founded in 1997 by engineers with disabilities, has been a leading provider of commercial software for testing web accessibility. The company is backed by notable investors, including JMI Equity and funds managed by private equity giant KKR. The acquisition of UserWay further solidifies Level Access’s commitment to advancing web accessibility and leveraging innovative solutions to address the evolving needs of diverse online users.

In conclusion, the acquisition of UserWay by Level Access reflects a strategic synergy aimed at advancing digital accessibility solutions. As the world increasingly relies on digital platforms, the collaboration between these two entities is poised to make a meaningful impact, creating a more inclusive online landscape for individuals with disabilities.

By Admin

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