"ThirdEye, a start-up by Penn students to help the visually impaired, is sold" in the Inquirer

"ThirdEye, a start-up by Penn students to help the visually impaired, is sold" in the Inquirer

By Diane Mastrull

"Rajat Bhageria had reason to party all day Wednesday, one day after he and three other University of Pennsylvania students sold ThirdEye Technologies, a start-up founded two years ago to help the blind and visually impaired know what they are looking at.

Yet by 9 a.m., Bhageria,  20, a junior and CEO of the company, was sitting in an industrial-design class.

"Life goes on," he said in an interview before class, sticking to a commitment he and his teammates at ThirdEye made even when it was apparent they had created something with market potential.

"Our team is very insistent that we don't drop out. College is a nonrenewable resource," Bhageria said. "I can always start another company."

His first, ThirdEye, developed a mobile app for iOS and Android devices that uses Google's Cloud Vision API to read aloud descriptions of objects and can also convert photos of text to speech. It has been acquired by TheBlindGuide LLC, a South Carolina-based e-commerce company founded in Lansdale to serve people with vision challenges. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"It was never about the money," said Bhageria, who was born in India and grew up in Cincinnati. "Hopefully, we can help a lot of people live a more independent life."

With the money from the sale — and funding he hopes to entice from other investors — Bhageria wants to help enable more young entrepreneurs through a new student-run venture-capital fund, Prototype Capital, details of which are at www.prototype.capital.

"It's all about reinvesting it into projects that can make an even bigger impact ... to kind of work on the most pressing problems the world faces," Bhageria said of his longer-term vision..."

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