Shark Tank India S3: Kibo is making learning easier for specially-abled people with AI

Along with the deal, the co-founders were happy to know that their vision was in line with the shark's vision to reach every school, college and library both in India and abroad with Kibo.

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Kibo is a brand that helps specially-abled people listen to, translate, digitize, and audio'tize content from different formats across various languages.

Kibo by Trestle Labs is an assistive technology company that aims to make education and employment digital and inclusive for everyone. It addresses barriers around disability, language, and literacy through AI-powered technology solutions. These solutions enable real-time listening, translation, digitization, and audio’tization of printed, handwritten, and digital content across multiple global languages, with a special focus on unserved and underserved Indian, African, and Asian languages. Kibo’s model can benefit schools, colleges, universities, NGOs, libraries, and workplaces, making them more inclusive for all.

The story of the brand's inception dates back to the engineering days of both co-founders, Akshita Sachdeva and Bonny Dave. Akshita, while in her third year of engineering in computer science, worked on a project involving reading and mobility hand gloves for the visually impaired. These gloves featured obstacle detection sensors for haptic feedback and a camera on the index finger to assist with reading. When Akshita presented this prototype to the National Association for the Blind, the children found it very useful. Similarly, Bonny, while volunteering at the Blind People's Association, observed that braille books were heavy and production costs were high. He decided to build a refreshable braille display with his mechanical engineering knowledge. Gathering actuators from the market, he learned to code and built a refreshable braille display, engaging the children with a game involving character recognition.

Incorporating both ideas with a shared vision, the co-founders established KIBO, which stands for ‘Knowledge in a Box.’ Kibo assists with listening, translating, digitizing, and audiotaping content across 60 global languages, including twelve Indian languages: English, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Marathi. Additionally, it offers handwritten content recognition, provides highly accurate translations for educational, legal, and other content, and converts text into MP3 audiobooks or MP3 audio files across different languages, ensuring appropriate pronunciation and accents for all supported languages.


Experience in Shark Tank India 

With this idea, the co-founders initially offered Rs. 60 lakhs for 1% equity, valuing the company at Rs. 60 crores. Peyush Bansal, co-founder and CEO of Lenskart, and Ronnie Screwvala, co-founder of upGrad, made a combined offer of Rs. 60 lakhs for 10%. Aman Gupta, co-founder and CMO of boAt, initially offered Rs. 60 lakhs for 4% equity, later reducing it to 3%. After several negotiations and counter-offers, the deal was closed with Peyush and Ronnie offering Rs. 60 lakhs for 6% equity.

In addition to securing the deal, the co-founders were delighted to learn that their vision aligned with the sharks' vision of reaching every school, college, and library in both India and abroad with Kibo. 'The experience was very positive and gave us an optimistic outlook for our company,' said Akshita.

Shark Tank India Co-founder and CMO of boAt Kibo by Trestle Labs Akshita Sachdeva Bonny Dave co-founder of upGrad