© Recite Me 2024
For the first time, Recite Me toolbar usage hit over 2.2 million individual users in a 12 month period. Our technology is now installed on over 3,500 websites, including household names and big brands like British Gas, Very, and Boots.
In the summer of 2021, we took on our first full-time staff members in Australia to help us deal with the increased demand for accessible websites down under. This brought our full-time staff headcount up to 35, an increase of 120% since 2018.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant effect on the importance of website accessibility. The demand for accessible websites grew exponentially, and the Recite Me team swelled to over 30 full-time employees.
Meanwhile, there were still many people without access to vital COVID-19 information, so in March 2020 we launched the Recite Me Pledge. We offered (and are still offering) to host a free accessible and inclusive landing page for any business where people can access important COVID-19 messages and updates.
Our dream of making a global impact took a big step closer to reality in 2019 when Recite Me began onboarding more clients in the USA. This is a trend that continues today, and we are delighted to have a set of awesome full time Recite Me staff working out of our American office.
By 2018 we had already outgrown our office space at Baltimore House and needed to find a larger base to accommodate our growing team. Luckily for us, a larger office was available in the same building, so our second move only required we move everything a couple of floors down.
2017 saw Recite Me getting more involved in industry events and sponsorship. We are incredibly proud to sponsor and support both the Tech 4 Good and the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) awards. We still maintain our RIDI Silver Partner status and continue to donate our web accessibility and language software to both awards websites
The Disability Confident Employer Scheme was launched in November 2016, and Recite Me was one of the very first tech firms to become a member. The nationally recognised accreditation scheme is designed to get more disabled people into work. As an inclusive organisation with diversity at its core, it was extremely important to us to demonstrate our commitment to equality for people with different needs in the workplace.
As we continued to grow, our technology was implemented on more and more websites. 2015 represented a particular landmark when Gatwick Airport came onboard. Serving over 46 million passengers per year, this was perhaps the most significant impact we had made through one individual client at this point in our operation.
At the prestigious ‘Tech at the Palace’ networking event, Ross joined 350 fellow digital entrepreneurs at Buckingham Palace and got himself a handshake from HRH Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
In the same year, Recite Me was included in Red Herring’s Top 100 Europe list of leading private-sector companies. This mark of distinction put us in the spotlight with some of the world’s leading software and social media firms.
Ross was invited on a trade visit to China with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. During his whistle-stop tour of Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, he had the opportunity to discuss website accessibility with business leaders from some of China’s largest internet and technology companies, including Baidu, Alibaba, 10 Cent and Huawei.
It was a great year for travel, as 2012 also saw Rossattend the SXSW festival in Texas to take part in the Hatch Pitch competition alongside respected businesses from startup communities in Silicon Valley, San-Francisco, and New York. His demonstration of our innovative text-to-speech software won an award for innovation.
Later in the year, Recite Me was cited as one of the most innovative startups in Europe, placing in the top 12 of the EU Tech All-Stars Awards.
In the first couple of years, we had worked hard to branch out into as many industries as possible and found ourselves attracting bigger and bigger clients. Our efforts were rewarded with a Future 100 Award, which celebrates the UK’s leading social enterprises. Around the same time, we took an international leap when we onboarded our first clients in Australia. From there, the stage was set for further expansion into the global marketplace.
By mid-2010, our team had already outgrown our small office in the Gateshead International Business Centre. So we moved to a larger office and our current base, Baltimore House on the Gateshead Quays. Though only half a mile or so away, the move gave us much more space to grow – with the added bonus of some pretty epic views out over The Sage and the River Tyne.
Recite Me was officially incorporated in 2009, based out of a small office in Gateshead with just four employees.
As a sprinter with dreams of Olympic glory, Ross was used to pushing himself to the absolute limit to gain a competitive edge and ensure his acceptance and inclusion in the racing world. So dedicating his time and energy to the success of Recite Me and his acceptance in the business world came as second nature. The next few years were a blur of hard work, building a winning team, refining our technology, and shaping the mission that would see thousands of global websites deploy our tools.
Ross was provided with personal assistive technology by his employer, but it was limited to just one computer. It was helpful, but at a time when tablets and smartphones were becoming increasingly prevalent, it did not represent a holistic solution. Ross noticed that he was at a widening disadvantage online without additional resources to overcome his exclusion. It was at this pivotal moment that the idea for Recite Me was born.
At this time, Ross faced one of his toughest decisions in life so far. Did he follow his dreams to become a professional athlete, or pursue his passion for making the online world a more accessible place by starting his own business?
No prizes for guessing his final decision…
Once upon a time, there was a dyslexic. More specifically, our founder and CEO, Ross Linnett.
Ross wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until after he graduated from university. But like many others whose learning difficulties are not identified until adulthood, he’d always suspected there was something different about the way his brain was working and learning. He excelled in subjects that didn’t include a lot of English, but weak in those that required large amounts of reading or writing.