To make all websites crucial to full social inclusion (e.g. government services, personal finances, health, transport and shopping) easily accessible and comprehensible to all users.
Simon is a very successful entrepreneur having, in 2009 help start Blue Jeans Network (Employee #1). Blue Jeans has gone on to reach $1B valuation in 2015 on the back of $175M investment over 5 rounds from the cream of Silicon Valley VC firms including Accel Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Battery Ventures & Norwest Venture partners. He has a passion for Social Impact Technology including a stint in the US helping the deaf in video communication. He has also been a national delegate to the UN on accessible communication (ITU) and has authored 2 patents and written 4 international communications standards.
With a strong technical background, Simon holds a Mechatronics Engineering degree as well as an MBA in New Venture Management. He has more than 15 years international entrepreneurial experience having started Businesses in Asia, Australia and the US.
Simon, now based in Brisbane Australia is an active Angel Investor and helped establish the largest Angel Investor network in the country.
Ray is the Founder, CTO and developer of the Kira platform. He has extensive experience designing and building large-scale software applications. He also has experience in solutions architecture, product engineering and business development and is a serial entrepreneur with 20 years experience in senior management and leadership roles. Ray loves working with interesting people, ideas and technologies. He has represented organisations from a variety of sectors including entertainment, utilities, communications, banking, education and health.
In 1992 Ray graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Computing. He has completed online business courses with Kauffman Fellows Academy, University of Virginia and University of Washington. He is currently completing his MBA with the Australian Institute of Business.
Geoff had a thirty-year professional career in the field of forensic accounting across the public, private and NFP sectors. Geoff has held positions as Assistant Director of the Complex Legal Recovery Unit of the Australian Taxation Office; Director of Business Development with Worrells Forensic and Solvency Accountants; and CEO of Debt Helpline Pty Ltd, a national solvency consultancy, until blindness forced his early retirement in 2012 .
Retirement created for Geoff, the opportunity to apply his prodigious analytic and creative talents to the problems of inclusion for people with low or no vision. His passion for all things artistic led him to research how visual communication, particularly in the visual arts, can be effected in alternative formats. His passion and belief were the genesis of the Vislan concept, first trialed in Brisbane in 2010.
Geoff became an advisor to Alkira Software in June 2016 and started in his current position as as a full-time executive in January 2017.
Ruth has 20 years experience in the business of innovation, research and commercialisation with 12 years’ experience investing in emerging technology companies spanning the technology and creative industry sectors. She has worked with more than 100 technology-based businesses many emerging from the research sector and her specialty is in establishing and consolidating start-ups.
Ruth is formerly CEO of the Australian Association of Angel Investors; teQstart Pty Ltd (Queensland Government early stage co-investment fund); Product Development Director at the Australian Institute for Commercialisation; Business Development Manager (Capital Raising) ilab Incubator Pty Ltd and General Manager of Uniseed Pty Ltd. Ruth has a degree in science and an MBA.
Ruth is also a Director of RESA Holdings Ltd and has been a Director of QUT’s Creative Enterprise Australia and the Australian Association of Angel Investors Ltd, the State Library of Queensland and Women in Technology and Chair | WiT Biotech.
She is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow Member of the Australian Institute of Management, a Fellow of the AAAI, and an active member of Brisbane Angels. Ruth joined the Alkira Software Board in May, 2016.
Campbell Newman is the Chairman of Arcana Capital, syndicating commercial property investment opportunities for sophisticated investors, is an adviser to a number of start-up companies and a regular commentator on SkyNews, particularly as a contributor to the Andrew Bolt programme.
He previously held the role of Premier of Queensland from 2012 to 2015 and was the Lord Mayor of Brisbane from 2004 to 2011.
Before entering politics, Campbell worked for six years as an executive for Grainco Australia in the grain storage, handling and logistics industry and also for four years as a management consultant working with large Australian companies such as BHP Australia Coal, the Hydro Electric Commission in Tasmania, Australian Wheat Board and Telstra.
He also spent 13 years in the Australian Army and served as an officer in the Royal Australian Engineers.
Campbell holds an Honours Degree in Civil Engineering (UNSW), an MBA in Financial Management (UQ) and is a graduate of RMC Duntroon. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia.
Alkira is an Australian Aboriginal word meaning “sky, sun, happy place in the sun or bring light into”.
It is our wish to bring light into people’s lives by making previously inaccessible online content available to millions of blind and vision impaired people around the world.
Our personal assistant software is named “Kira” which is pronounced, “K-ear-ruh”. It is commonly used as a girl’s name and we often refer to Kira using the feminine third-person pronoun “she”. In practice Kira can be configured to adopt a preferred gender and accent when speaking text. In Russian Kira can be translated as “one the people look to”.
Alkira’s story starts with a friendship. Ray and Rob met in 2010 when their children attended the same playgroup. Ray was CTO of a successful software company he had co-founded 13 years earlier. Rob was a mechanical engineer who retrained as a massage therapist after losing his eyesight in 2004. By 2010 Rob had built a thriving massage business which he ran from home.
Although Rob was experienced in using adaptive technologies to operate his computer, he continued to have difficulties with the administrative side of the business, such as appointments, invoices and payments. Ray offered to find a technology that could enable Rob to run his business and remain independent. Ray thought – easy – there are lots of technologies out there to help.
That was an incorrect assumption.
Everything Ray found was hard to learn and use. It was easier for Ray to start from scratch and build something that would actually work and help Rob to do what he wanted – to be autonomous.
From the first effort, Kira was born and has grown following many years of development and trials. Alkira Software Pty Ltd was established to commercialise and extend the platform beyond helping blind and visually impaired people. By applying their technology more broadly, Alkira has created a new paradigm that allows the wider community to access essential online information.