A few weeks after 5 shortlisted Amazon Launchpad products were announced, a winner has been chosen. The startup of the year and winner of €100,000 is WeWALK, a revolutionary ‘smart’ walking cane for people living with visual impairment.
“We’re delighted to announce WeWALK as ‘Startup of the Year’ – their forward thinking and unique mobility solution for the visually impaired is a fantastic product, and we’re thrilled that customers recognised this as they cast their votes. Innovation is part of our culture. We continue to invent on behalf of customers, but we’re also a destination for innovative new products from small businesses.”
– Xavier Flamand, Director, EU Seller Services, Amazon
To celebrate the Innovation Awards, Amazon Launchpad is running a 48-hour ‘Innovation Day’ – a curated storefront spotlighting the forward-thinking products designed by WeWALK, Callaly and the other winners. Customers will also find a host of other innovative products on offer from startups across Europe.
The inspiration behind WeWALK came from the lived experience of one of the three co-founders, Kürşat Ceylan, who himself is blind from birth. During a trip to New York, Kürşat found himself struggling to pull his luggage with one hand while trying to navigate the streets with his white cane and open GPS on his smartphone with the other hand. The ordeal resulted in a minor injury when he bumped his head into a pole, but he also realised that the white cane, which is crucial to the visually impaired and blind community, had been left behind by technology.
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“The white cane is not just a navigation tool, but also offers a sense of security and is heavily relied upon by those of us within the community. We have been on a journey to transform the traditional cane into a ‘Smart Cane’ by marrying its simple functionality with modern technology, and so WeWALK was born.”
– Kürşat Ceylan, Co-founder, WeWALK