News & Analysis

Zendesk launches partnership with healthtech app Be My Eyes

- April 15, 2016 3 MIN READ

Customer service startup Zendesk has today announced a partnership with Be My Eyes, through which it will look to show support for the healthtech sector and offer assistance to socially minded startups. Zendesk will provide the startup with business mentorship, resources, and a financial contribution to help connect the blind with a network of sighted people.

Be My Eyes is an app that uses live mobile video to connect blind people all over the world with volunteer helpers upon the request of assistance. Volunteers see the existing world of the blind person and their current surroundings through a live video call. Volunteers are required to vocally assist and offer advice or navigation, depending on what challenges the blind person faces.

“Be My Eyes represents a new generation of startups that is putting social responsibility at the core of the company at its founding,” said Mikkel Svane, founder of Zendesk.

The team at Zendesk have committed to working with Be My Eyes on a one-to-one office hour basis and will be coordinating meetings between Zendesk’s San Francisco office and Be My Eyes headquarters in Copenhagen.

According to WHO, there are an estimated 39 million blind people around the world and 90 percent of those live in low-income areas. Be My Eyes aims to assist people around the world, who are visually impaired and lack the means of help.

The app was launched for free last year and to date has connected more than 26,000 blind people with more than 350,000 sighted helpers in over 140 countries.

Christian Erfurt, CEO of Be My Eyes said, “Our partnership with Zendesk will help us expand our mission of making the world more accessible. We will be working together to improve the user experience and product features so even more people can help others through technology.”

In terms of being socially minded, Australia has been ranked fifth in the world by Charities Aid Foundation; when it comes to meaningful contribution to communities, it seems Australia are exceptional givers and business is catching on.

Another Australian business-led social impact initiative is Pledge 1%, spearheaded by Salesforce, Atlassian, Rally for Impact, and Tides, which builds upon communities of corporate philanthropy. Since its launch in 2015, 80 companies have joined the movement to commit one percent of employee time, equity, product, or profits to improve communities in Australia and New Zealand.

Globally this initiative has gained support from more than 700 companies who are committed to making the community a key stakeholder in their business.

Similarly, through the partnership with Zendesk, Be My Eyes will be able to reach out to a larger number of community members around the world who want to be apart of greater social initiatives.

Zendesk’s integration with Be My Eyes is part of the crowdsourced volunteer model, motivated by micro-volunteering opportunities. The integration will use a ticket routing feature, promoting Zendesk customer support advocates to become part of Be My Eyes’ network of sighted volunteers. This feature will be prompted after advocates have completed a certain number of support tickets. This feature will be later integrated into other Zendesk products.

Zendesk’s latest socially minded initiative with Be My Eyes is part of the Love Startups Program, which provides assistance to qualified startups by offering them free use of the Zendesk software. Select startups that provide social impact products or services qualify for a $25,000 financial contribution from Zendesk. This contribution includes office hours as a way to assist startups to build their businesses.

Beneficiaries will receive a $25,000 financial contribution, office hours with the Zendesk executive team and office hours, along with key personnel to help startups build and scale their businesses. The first beneficiary to receive this financial contribution is Be My Eyes.

Zvane said, “We want to share our resources and experience so that even more socially minded entrepreneurs around the world can mobilise people to help others through technology and new business models.”

Image: Mikkel Svane. Source: The Huffington Post