This May we published an exciting story about 12-year old Emmanuel who had an idea for an app that solved a problem Emmanuel encounters on a daily basis – blindness.
His mom, Emilie, shared his journey of becoming an entrepreneur in this blog How a Technology Platform Helps a 12 Year Old Boy Become an Entrepreneur. We are thrilled to share some exciting updates since we met Emilie and Emmanuel. To remind you of the problem they’re solving, here’s a recap:
Emilie was at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF event in late September working as a security guard. She is a single parent to Emmanuel and his brother. Her nonprofit salary is tough when it comes to single parenting. Emmanuel, who is 12 years old and legally blind due to optic atrophy, takes on life with vigor, and quite seamlessly tackles ordinary obstacles. He navigates the world quite well for any adolescent, despite his disability. Emmanuel goes hiking, plays chess, enjoys Jiu-Jitsu and is learning to program Arduino.
But one thing that stunts Emmanuel’s daily routines is a task many of us take for granted: ordering food at restaurants. And he’s not alone.
In many case blind and visually impaired persons cannot access menus at many popular restaurants (such as McDonald’s, Chipotle, Five Guys, Starbucks, and Subway) for many reasons including:
1. menus are posted behind the counter too far away to take a photo and zoom in on your phone
2. light obscures the items and magnifying solutions do not work
3. paper menus are not available or do not have all menu items with prices
4. cashiers will not read the entire menu out loud (required by law, but rarely ever done)
Ultimately there is no easy way for the visually impaired to get access to the menu items and prices. Emmanuel therefore had an idea for an app that would allow visually impaired people to order food at restaurants.
Updates since our last coverage of EyeMenu:
First off, Emilie and Emmanuel grew their team. Peter Rothman joined as CTO. EyeMenu also created their website! Check it out here: http://www.eye.menu/. It contains news updates from the team. EyeMenu has been nominated for Northern California Start Up of the year by Tech.Co. Check out the full list. The team has also successfully secured funding! From their website:
Emmanuel presented his concept on stage at the First Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Festival. He, along with several young entrepreneurs, shared their ideas with the panel of judges. Emmanuel’s story moved the judges and the audience deeply resulting in winning an award for his presentation. Shortly after winning the award, Emmanuel was invited back to meet Mr. Wang Han Guang, Chairman of Han Hai Holdings. At their meeting Mr. Wang presented Emmanuel with the funds to start the company and so the EyeMenu adventure began!
Emilie has been featured in the following publications:
DeBug Magazine “13-Year-Old Is Creating App That Will Help Visually Impaired Order Food”
San Jose Tech Museum, “Dishing Up tech Solutions:Blind teen uses love of tech to help the visually-impaired at restaurants”
Congratulations EyeMenu! We look forward to your continued success, and to helping all aspiring entrepreneurs get connected to the tools and resources they need to take their business idea to the next step!
Interested parties can contact the founders through their idea on Ideator!