2021 AccessAbility Award Recipient: Be My Eyes - Christian Erfurt



[Christian]: Thank you. It's an honor on the entire behalf of the Be My Eyes team and our community. I want to thank you for the AccessAbility Award. It's an honor to be recognized by our peers and in particularly by the community who knows why we are doing this and why it is important. I want to share with you a brief history about how Hans, my visually impaired co-founder and I met one another. So years back I was organizing a startup competition and Hans came there pitching an idea that seemed very, very simple, but had a powerful element to it. It was the idea of connecting sighted volunteers to visually impaired and blind people via live video connection. And I immediately fell in love with this simple, powerful random act of kindness idea. So I had to leave the organizing team and I came over to Hans and I said, I'll do anything I can to help you over the next 72 hours to prove this concept. We didn't win the competition, but we did get a honoree award from the judges who made up that award on the spot, saying that this needs to be in existence and they encouraged us to carry on and build the app. And fast forward to a couple of years later, we did just that we launched Be My Eyes in January of 2015 and were amazed to see that we had 10,000 volunteers signing up within the first 24 hours and a thousand blind and visually impaired users. Within six weeks, we had users signing up in more than a hundred countries. And for the past six years, we've been doing everything we can to make the world more accessible, and we'll be continuing to do this as a free service. And our service will always remain free, unlimited, and globally available. It's an honor to accept this award and I thank you all for it.