July 1, 2024

Black-Led TestParty Snaps Up $4M To Make Websites More Accessible

Michael Bervell

TestParty, a Black-led, AI-driven software compliance company, has raised $4 million in a seed funding round led by Harlem Capital and the Urban Innovation Fund. 

Founded in March 2023 by Michael Bervell and Jason Tan, TestParty helps businesses automatically rewrite source code to comply with global digital accessibility regulations.

Making websites more accessible

Currently, nearly all popular websites fail to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), leaving millions of people who rely on assistive devices unable to engage with the digital world.

TestParty aims to bridge this gap by automating testing, remediation, training, and code monitoring, ensuring websites adhere to accessibility standards, such as the European Accessibility Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Jason Tan, the CTO, conceived the idea while working at Twitch, which faced legal action in 2021 due to digital accessibility issues. 

Realizing the prevalence of such lawsuits and the expanding digital landscape, Tan and CEO Michael Bervell saw the need for a solution. 

They believe AI can empower engineers to write accessible code, creating a more inclusive digital environment.

The Growing Market for Compliance Software

The compliance management software market is valued at over $30 billion.  Traditional methods involve hiring consultants to manually audit and rectify codebases, a time-consuming and costly process. 

With increasing regulatory pressures, such as the EU’s 2025 mandate on digital accessibility complaints and similar US. regulations, demand for efficient solutions like TestParty’s automation is rising. 

Bervell and Tan predict manual auditing will soon be unsustainable, positioning TestParty as a critical business tool.

“We give existing engineers the skills that they need to write ADA-compliant code, instead of hiring an accessibility specialist for hundreds of dollars per hour,” Bervell told TechCrunch.

“It makes accessibility a human right, more affordable, in turn leading to the creation of a more accessible internet.”

Read: Netflix’s First-Ever Director Of Product Accessibility, Heather Dowdy, Is Pioneering Tech Inclusion

A rapid fundraising journey

The fundraising journey for TestParty was rapid, closing in just 71 days. Bervell’s previous internship at Harlem Capital played a crucial role in establishing connections that later facilitated this investment. 

This round also saw participation from K Ventures, Soma Capital, and Gaingels, as well as the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“We believe TestParty will become the ultimate solution to ensure every website is accessible to all, leaving an indelible mark on society,” said Harlem Capital’s managing partner, Henri Pierre-Jacques.

Image Credit: Michael Bervell

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.