May 23, 2023
Rochester Startup Sign-Speak Joins Amazon Accelerator Supporting Latino Founders
Rochester-based startup Sign-Speak, co-founded by Yamillet Payano, is part of Amazon Web Services Inc.’s Impact Accelerator Latino Founders Cohort. The startup aims to improve accessibility to American Sign Language (ASL) communication through automated ASL recognition, transcription, and production applications. Sign-Speak is developing two use cases for its technology: an in-person interaction application where the software is pre-downloaded on a tablet, and an online application that integrates with video chat platforms to translate spoken word into ASL. The deaf community faces a high demand for interpreting agencies in the US, and Sign-Speak aims to address this issue. By participating in the eight-week AWS accelerator, Sign-Speak will receive training, mentorship, resources, and $225,000 in cash grants and AWS credits, which will help lower costs and connect the startup with other successful businesses and technical experts. Sign-Speak has raised around $1 million in dilutive and non-dilutive funding and plans to expand its team of sign language providers to enhance its software. The startup envisions using generative AI to make language more accessible to people worldwide, including those who do not currently have access.
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