AssistiveWare was established in 2000. As the name implies, they are focused on developing innovative technologies to assist people with varying abilities. Their flagship product Proloquo2Go is an industry standard Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app for iPad and iPhone. Proloquo2Go is based on the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). They work closely with end users and professionals to develop product and service solutions for people with physical, vision, communication or reading impairments. Unlike several of the other ventures I considered, they have no positions currently listed on the Jobs section of their website. This is likely because of their well established product and user base.
When he was at WWDC in June of last year, David Niemeijer demoed two of his company’s apps for TechCruch. Keedogo is an iPad keyboard designed for younger children which features built-in accessible traits. The second and more widely known app was Proloquo2Go. TechCruch’s Steve Aquino describes him as “…invested in the welfare of those who use his products. He, too, wants to make a difference in the lives of people of all abilities and needs.”
The team at AssistiveWare brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to their venture. As CEO, David Neimeijer brings a PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and a very personal relation to his venture. He founded his organization when his friend became paralyzed because of a car accident. He took it upon himself to program a screen-based keyboard so that his friend could continue to use his Mac. His leadership has brought together a staff team that includes other PhDs like himself, speech language pathologists, software engineers, graphic designers as well as people who actually depend on the software that AssistiveWare has created.
I have taken a lot away from studying David Niemeijer. The biggest impression it has made on me is that he is able to be hugely successful in developing something that genuinely makes a major difference in peoples lives, simply by combining a personal passion and a highly skilled team. He has inspired me to approach ventures with a different perspective. He has brought a sense of balance to his company, represented all the way down to hiring end users to his team. I hope to create original value for people everywhere by using relevant pedagogy to assist all types of learners, and would gladly follow in the footsteps of someone like David Niemeijer