Web accessibility solution for designers wins Genesis startup program

14 December 2021
Streamlining usability and accessibility compliance for software companies
Adee, a startup founded by a husband and wife team, has won the $25,000 grand prize in the University of Sydney Business School's Genesis startup program.
The Genesis finalists holding a large $25,000 cheque

The Genesis startup program finalists. Photo: Chris Wright

Adee developed out of a personal project by Samine Hadadi, a Computer Science PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, and her husband and co-founder Javad Taghia, a software architect and team lead at Vanderlande.

"Javad always needed eyeglasses for reading but didn't want to wear them all the time, so we decided to develop an app to make any website adjustable for our personal use," says Samine.

The result got more than 65,000 downloads in the Android version alone. It was a trigger to realise usability and accessibility is a huge issue for billions of people worldwide.
Samine Hadadi, Co-Founder of Adee

Many software companies spend time and money validating their software’s accessibility following production, as testing and support systems are not integrated with design and development platforms.

Adee enables designers and developers in software companies to collaborate on usability and accessibility to test their product early, saving time and money and avoiding legal risks and web accessibility lawsuits.

After developing their minimum viable product, Samine and Javad entered the University of Sydney's flagship startup competition, Genesis, run by the Business School and open to all University students, staff and alumni.

The final startups competed for the coveted award in November, having faced unprecedented challenges from COVID and supply chain issues. This year continued the program's trend of strong representation from women, with female CEOs and co-founders making up six out of seven finalists. 

The Genesis program gave Samine and Javad the opportunity to connect with a startup mentor and develop valuable industry partnerships to expand their platform.

"Adee came into Genesis with an amazing solution," says Alex Carpenter, Startup Programs Manager at the University of Sydney Business School.

"Through Genesis, they've landed a collaboration with Adobe and a release in Adobe XD, which has laid the seeds for their success in coming months."

The Adee team accepted the $25,000 grand prize, sponsored by Access Corporate Group, on Wednesday at the University of Sydney Business School's Abercrombie Building. Chief Brand Officer at Access Corporate and graduate of the University of Sydney, Livia Wang, presented the award.

"With record numbers of new businesses emerging in Australia, there is clearly a growing appetite for entrepreneurship," says Alex Carpenter. "But most businesses fail due to the same handful of mistakes.

"The Genesis program provides an important framework and community for founders looking to avoid these common mistakes. Our goal is to increase the chance of success for University of Sydney alumni, staff and students."

Related articles