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TestParty raises $4 million to help automate the coding for accessible websites
July 11, 2024

TestParty raises $4 million to help automate the coding for accessible websites

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TestParty, a software compliance company powered by AI, announced a $4 million seed round today co-led by Harlem Capital and the Urban Innovation Fund. 

Michael Bervell and Jason Tan, the company’s CEO and CTO respectively, co-founded TestParty in March 2023 to automatically rewrite source code to help businesses avoid violating global digital accessibility regulations like the European Accessibility Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

As of today, nearly all of the world’s most popular website homepages are not compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This means people who are blind or who need other assistive devices to help them scan the web are unable to fully engage with most of the world’s websites. TestParty seeks to fix this, by automating testing, remediation, training, and code monitoring to bring websites into compliance with accessibility standards. 

Tan first came across this idea after working at Twitch, which was sued in 2021 for its lack of digital accessibility. Looking more into the issue, Tan realized that disability suits like this were common and that the rapid expansion of the internet has caused many to overlook guardrails that would make their technology more inclusive. He teamed up with Bervell with the belief that engineers can be trained with AI to simply write more accessible website coding. 

Inclusive technology like this is exactly what advocates talk about when they say they would like to see more innovation with overlooked communities taken into account. The market for Compliance management software tops well over $30 billion, and finding a way to automate tedious coding tasks is sure to help make creating accessibility easier for companies. 

Traditionally, companies hired consultants to manually audit and fix a code base. But Bervell and Tan predict that the method will no longer work as more digital products enter the market. There is also more regulatory pressure on this topic, such as the EU managing digital accessibility complaints starting in 2025 and the U.S. mandating compliance for its local, state, and federal institutions. They believed consultants soon will not be able to keep up with increased demand, which is where TestParty and automation will come into play. 

‘We give existing engineers the skills that they need to write ADA-compliant code, instead of hiring an accessibility specialist for hundreds of dollars per hour,’ Brevell said. ‘It makes accessibility, a human right, more affordable, in turn leading to the creation of a more accessible internet.’ 

He said their fundraising journey was all about persistence although it took them just 71 days to close the round. The team was introduced to their lead investor Harlem Capital, because Bervell used to intern at Harlem Capital. He stayed in contact with the team and participated in alumni events. The firm said this is the first time it has invested in a company founded by someone who used to work for them.

K Ventures and Soma Capital also participated in the round.

Tan met Brevell around 2021 while taking a gap year in the Smoky Mountains. At the time he was attending Princeton, before going on to work at Twitch, and also helped run TigerLaunch, one of the world’s largest student-run startup competitions. Brevell, meanwhile, used to work as a portfolio development manager at Microsoft’s Venture Fund, and as a software engineer at X. 

‘I realized I could make a bigger impact as a founder if I was able to find a business I cared about that had both social impact and business mission,’ Brevell said about his decision to become a founder. Tan, meanwhile, always wanted to become one. They are hoping together, they can make a difference. ‘TestParty is a business with such a meaningful social impact and deeply caring community that it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience to work.’ 


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