£600k invested into social impact tech start-up Breezie
Breezie has raised around £600k equity investment in under 6 weeks to grow their business. The company was set up by entrepreneur Jeh Kazimi who wanted to help his parents get online.
The investment included crowdfunding and investment from Clearly Social Angels (CSA). CSA is the UK’s largest and most active impact-focused investor network (where investors demand social impact as well as financial return), and is run by ClearlySo. Five “impact angels” invested into the deal, including founding member of CSA, philanthropist and entrepreneur Suzanne Biegel.
Breezie makes the benefits of the internet accessible to those who currently do not use it (or use it less effectively) – primarily the older demographic. It uses touch-screen tablets and provides a simple and intuitive interface to popular internet applications like Facebook and Skype.
It provides a simple and personalised touchscreen interface to popular apps like Skype to enable their benefits for an older person (i.e. I want to see my grandson) without the complexity (i.e. I don’t understand Skype). It also has an online facility for a family member/care-giver to remotely personalise, support and troubleshoot – add contacts, suggest apps, and bookmark content.
The solution can transform the lives of elderly users through:
· Supporting communication with family/friends (reducing isolation that can lead to depression)
· Easy access to critical content – such as .gov.uk services
· Ability to save money online like everybody else – online shopping, billing or banking
· Keeping mentally active through games or entertainment
· Improved well-being by making assisted technologies and health apps more accessible
Jeh Kazimi, the entrepreneur behind Breezie, explains: “Breezie was started by a personal need to get my parents online. My mum was over from India to spend time with her grandson; my wife and I were busy trying to teach her how to use Skype, as well as my dad in India. After several weeks of ‘can you hear me, can you see me?’ on Skype, I realised every day technology that we take for granted just isn’t built for people not comfortable with technology. Specialist computers for the elderly are too patronizing and mass market solutions like iPads lacked real support or care. Fast forward two and a half years and we have built a team who are passionate about solving this problem and have received incredible support from organisations like Samsung and Age UK in bringing our solution to market. This new investment allows us to accelerate this growth and brings in investors who can expand our distribution partnerships.”
Suzanne Biegel, who invested into the deal through Clearly Social Angels, says, “Any of us that have been in the position of providing tech support for our parents can see the potential in a smart solution that helps us and the people we love. There’s a big imperative around digital inclusion and social isolation as well; it’s a big market opportunity for someone who gets this right. I love this company because ageing is an area I’ve been looking to invest in, and Jeh and his team are the right people at the right time – with the right business approach.