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Meet .lumen – a Romanian startup building "glasses for the blind". The company is one of the EIC Scaling Club's members in the Next-Gen Computing market group.

Founded in 2020, .lumen's goal is to offer a scalable and cost-effective alternative to guide dogs and solve a pressing challenge: the lack of effective mobility solutions for the visually impaired.

Cornel Amariei, the founder and CEO of .lumen, shares harsh statistics: In 2023, an estimated 500 million euros were spent on training just 2,000 guide dogs for the visually impaired. Altogether, for more than 300 million visually impaired people globally, there are just around 28,000 guide dogs. 

.lumen's technology replicates the functionality of a guide dog – the glasses can describe surroundings to the wearer, help them avoid obstacles, and even guide users to new locations. Unlike guide dogs, which lead by pulling on a harness, .lumen’s devices guide users by gently pulling the user's head, offering a discreet and intuitive navigation experience. The technology can do everything that guide dogs can – and even more. And at a much lower cost – around 10,000 euros per device.

Where did the idea for .lumen come from? 

Cornel himself was born in a family of people with disabilities. Growing up in this environment made him very well aware of the challenges people with disabilities face and the shortcomings of the existing solutions.

.lumen has brought together a stellar team of professionals from Romania and abroad. “We are a bunch of crazy people who seem to have nothing in common,” Cornel laughs. What unites them is the company's mission—to help as many people as possible.

The company is on the road to success, but that road hasn't always been smooth and easy. Cornel shares that building a startup is incredibly hard, especially one that combines hardware, AI, and medical technology. What makes things even more complicated – .lumen is Romania's first deeptech startup, according to Cornel. This non-existent deeptech ecosystem in Romania is one of the reasons investors have been hesitant to invest.

But despite all odds, .lumen is not only gaining global recognition but is also about to close its first funding round. “It took us months, but now we have several offers on the table. So, we're in a good place right now,” Cornel reveals.

Asked why .lumen joined the EIC Scaling Club, Cornel says it was the promise to help them scale the company.

“At the EIC Scaling Club launch event, someone said that 20% of the companies selected for the Club will become unicorns. I never founded the company for money, but I know where I want to be – I want to be amongst these 20%.”

He appreciates all the help and support the team has already received. “We're meeting mentors, and they give us homework, which is really practical and helpful. At the EIC Scaling Club launch event, we also met a lot of people, and there was even one possible business opportunity that was born right at the event,” he discloses.

 

About the EIC Scaling Club

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The EIC Scaling Club is a curated community where 120+ European deep tech scale-ups with the potential to build world-class businesses and solve major global challenges come together with investors, corporate innovators and other industry stakeholders to spur growth.

The top 120+ European deep tech companies will be carefully selected from a pool of high-growth scale-ups that have benefitted from EIC financial schemes, other European and national innovation programmes, and beyond.

The EIC Scaling Club is an EIC-funded initiative run in partnership by Tech Tour, Bpifrance (EuroQuity), Hello Tomorrow, Tech.eu (Webrazzi), EurA and IESE Business School.

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By/ EIC Scaling Club

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