PRESS RELEASE: Zendesk announced a partnership with Be My Eyes to provide business mentorship, resources and a financial contribution to the socially conscious startup, which connects the blind with a network of sighted people through live mobile video. The company is also committed to integrating Be My Eyes’ model of crowdsourced volunteering into Zendesk’s customer service platform.
“Be My Eyes represents a new generation of startups that is putting social responsibility at the core of the company at its founding,” said Mikkel Svane, Zendesk founder and CEO. “We want to share our resources and experience so that even more socially minded entrepreneurs around the world can mobilise people to help others through technology and new business models.”
Zendesk co-founders Mikkel Svane, Morten Primdahl and Alexander Aghassipour, along with Adrian McDermott, Zendesk’s senior vice president of product development, all have committed to one-to-one office hours with Be My Eyes in addition to making separate, individual financial investments in the company. Be My Eyes is based in Copenhagen, where Zendesk was originally founded in 2007 and today has a local product development and sales office.
The new initiative for socially conscious startups falls under the umbrella of the Zendesk Loves Startups program, which assists qualified startups with free Zendesk software for a year. Starting with Be My Eyes, select startups can also qualify for a $25,000 financial contribution, office hours with Zendesk’s executive team, and office hours with key personnel to help them build and scale their socially minded business.
“Our partnership with Zendesk will help us expand our mission of making the world more accessible,” said Christian Erfurt, CEO of Be My Eyes. “We will be working together to improve the user experience and product features so even more people can help others through technology.”
Be My Eyes launched a mobile app last year that allows people with a visual impairment to get in contact with sighted helpers via a direct video call. It has connected more than 26,000 blind people with more than 350,000 sighted helpers in more than 140 countries.
The planned integration of Be My Eyes’ crowdsourced volunteer model into Zendesk products advances both companies’ belief that the today’s workforce is motivated to give back through micro-volunteering opportunities. The integration will use a ticket routing feature that will prompt Zendesk’s customer support advocates to log into the Be My Eyes’ app after they’ve completed a certain number of support tickets. In the future, Zendesk will integrate additional volunteer opportunities into its products.
Startups interested in Zendesk’s new initiative can apply at http://www.zendesk.com/startups