Our Investment in Stark’s Pre-Seed Round
We’re excited to announce our investment in Stark, a New York based startup bringing accessibility and inclusive design to the world of software. Already used in the daily workflows of more than 300,000 software designers, developers and product managers, Stark enables them to ship products that are equally accessible to people with disabilities — impacting 1 in 4 Americans and over one billion people worldwide.
Darling Ventures proudly co-lead Stark’s $1.5M pre-seed financing round alongside our friends at Indicator Ventures. There’s also a groundswell of industry support for Stark’s mission which is reflected early on with investments from the CTO of Github, Lead of Accessibility at Atlassian and software executives from Oracle, Uber and Stripe amongst others. Participating in the round alongside us were also Basecamp Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Scout Fund.
Stark’s product seamlessly integrates with the software solutions design and engineering teams already know and love, including Adobe XD, Sketch and Figma. Its technology intelligently scans work, surfaces accessibility issues and automates the necessary changes. Rework is avoided as Stark seamlessly operates alongside software designers, developers and product managers while they work.
It is why in just eight months, Stark has earned the trust of the industry. This is reflected in its product already being used by software teams at over 80 corporations including Microsoft, Atlassian, Instagram, Dropbox, Oscar Health, US Bank, Pfizer and Volkswagen and in its professional community already having over 10,000 members.
Stark’s passionate co-founder and CEO, Cat Noone, has her eyes set on a hugely important and little recognized market:
“The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) estimates nearly $7 trillion in annual disposable income falls directly and indirectly into the disability market segment. Yet, when we look at where software companies have put their focus for the past decades, it’s clear that this market potential was largely ignored. On top, by empowering teams to make their product accessibility for everyone with ease, software companies also become legally compliant and thus reduce their business risk.”
In Stark, we see a software startup with a mission of global significance. No software product should exclude a disadvantage minority of their users. It’s bad for business and bad for society. There’s a dramatic increase in awareness amongst software designers, developers and executives to ship products that are universally accessibility. To the degree that this conversation is reaching the board room. Stark is on a path to become an important part of software infrastructure by enabling accessibility and compliance in the software industry. We’re thrilled to partner with such a mission driven company that is already improving how software is produced around the world.