Tech Pitch: Breezie
Startups finds out more about the £1.2m-backed tech start-up which looks to help the elderly get online...
Company name: Breezie
Founder: Jeh Kazimi (41)
Background: Venture capital, software consulting and engineering
Based in: Richmond-upon-Thames
Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?
Breezie provides user-friendly, personalised tablets to some of the 5.7 million digitally isolated UK adults aged 55+ who’ve never used the internet. Our tablet service alters the usual operating system interface of compatible Android tablets, hiding clutter and complexity from popular everyday applications such as Skype, Facebook and Gmail, to simplify the user experience.
In short, it makes digital life a whole lot easier for those less familiar with technology.
Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?
Existing solutions designed to help older people use the internet and technology were badly designed, downright patronising and used decade-old technology.
Big global companies like Apple and Microsoft are simply too focused on the mass market, rather than the dwindling market of digitally isolated adults. What this means for the technology sector is that the silver market has historically suffered from a lack of talent and capital. In short, existing technology for the grey market is dated. But 5.7 million people is no insignificant number. Wanting to solve these problems was where the idea for Breezie came from.
Are you funded?
Yes – we managed to raise over £600,000 in just six weeks through crowdfunding platform CrowdBnk and social impact-focused angel network Clearly Social Angels (238% of our £252,000 target). This was our third funding round. We’ve actually raised £1.2m to date under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) from angel investors including Barchester Healthcare founder, Mike Parsons.
What were you doing before starting?
Before starting Breezie, I worked in venture capital for five years, building internet start-ups in the UK, US and Israel. Prior to this, I built a software consulting business in the UK, attracting clients such as United Utilities and National Grid, and was part of the team that launched one of India’s largest telecoms companies, Reliance Telecom. I also have a degree in engineering and an MBA from the London Business School.
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What’s the best thing about where you’re based?
Leafy Richmond might seem like a strange location for a tech start-up but it was actually identified in a KPMG report as having the highest concentration of tech workers out of any London borough.
The borough of Richmond has more than twice as many people employed by the technology industry than the national average and it’s home to PayPal and eBay’s UK headquarters as well as thriving businesses like Graze, Haymarket and The Securitas Group.
We’ve been able to attract some exceptional talent – people who love working by the park and the river, while keeping our overheads low. Office space in Richmond is cheaper than in central London, yet only 15 minutes away by train.