Here at Vertical, we are excited about supporting brilliant ideas and brilliant people who make a  change in the world. There is nothing better, but uplifting startups who are transforming society with the help of innovation and technology. That is why we have started showcasing founders from startups we’ve worked with. Meet our featured hero.

Name: Lorenzo Di Ciaccio

Startup name: Pedius

Country: Italy

Employees: 14

Product/service description in one sentence: Phone calls for the Deaf

Why you do what you do? How the idea of making a solution for deaf came to you?

Pedius was incorporated in October 2013. The idea of Pedius was inspired by the story of Gabriele Serpi, a deaf man that had a car accident and wasn’t able to call a tow truck or an ambulance. It shocked me, with all the technology that we have a deaf person cannot make a phone call in case of need? After much research, I decided it was time to create a solution.

How Pedius is different from the competition, what makes you special?

Before Pedius, the Deaf had to contact a special call centre, or relay service, to use a service. This means that during the call the sign language interpreter mediates the conversation. Even those relay services are not present in all the countries and even when present are not working 24/7. We want to give back the rightful independence and security a phone gives to any other group of people. With Pedius, our users can make their calls with privacy and on their own terms.

What are you up to? What’s next for Pedius?

To deliver that quality we are continuously working on our core technology, today the usage and the feedback of our users tell us if we are on the right path. The next challenge for Pedius is brings captioned phone calls for the aging population. One every one thousand born deaf, one every ten experience hearing loss after 60 years old, even if the hearing loss have a minor impact on the single life, the impact on the population is huge, that’s why we must go in this direction.

How was your time in Vertical? What was the most valuable? What did you enjoy the most?

Vertical offered a great opportunity to grow up our team on an international level, even if the Finnish market is small it is very reactive and positive for feedback. The direct relationship with large enterprises like Telia Sonera, and Samsung helped us to define a more accurate strategy. In particular with Samsung, we evaluate a potential integration with smart TV to bring automated captioning not only on phone conversation but also in a live event on TV. We didn’t close a deal because the market had a different evolution and companies focus moved away, but definitely, we gained a valuable experience that is fundamental to scale up your company

What piece of advice/wisdom would you share with those who want to make an impact in the world, real the changemakers of tomorrow?

Changing the environment is fundamental to stress our idea even further. If we need an idea that scale, we need to test.

We are seeking startups solving global societal challenges through technology. Here at Vertical, we are all about supporting brilliant ideas and brilliant people to change the world. Our core focus is in areas where technology can improve the quality of people’s lives in the most significant ways, such as wellbeing, health, especially mental health and everything related to preventative measures there, closing the gap when it comes to accessibility and diversity. We are offering startups a tailor-made part-time program for validating their product/solution, making their service offering more compelling, strengthening go-to-market strategy with a help of Samsung technology, as well as developing a demo with Samsung.

The application form is always open. Learn more about how to apply and how to get support here.

Photo credits: Elaine Pringle Photography / Swiss Entrepreneurs Magazine