Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Tamar Schapira, the co-founder and CEO of SenseIT. Let’s learn what’s happening at SenseIT and how Tamar is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Tamar! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through SenseIT?
Tamar: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! At SenseIT, our mission is developing tools that enable development teams to release accessible digital products for people with disabilities. This means, we develop tools that can be used while developing a web app that can test and help to fix issues that are found in the product associated with accessibility (for example, your favorite social media app can’t be accessed by my friend who is paralyzed in both arms). We focused our effort on finding issues that are related to how people with disabilities could or could not use the product being developed (for example, my paralyzed friend must use apps that are compatible with his technological devices that enable him to browse).
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Tamar: My husband and co-founder, Nadav, and I worked in the digital accessibility space for nearly a decade before we founded SenseIT. We owned a consulting firm in the space. So, the idea behind SenseIT was homegrown—we saw the need for such a product in our work with clients and decided to develop the idea further so that other companies could benefit. What’s more, I was, and continue to be, motivated and driven by a personal “why”. A close friend of mine had a severe accident a few years ago and became quadriplegic. It’s for his sake and an entire population of people’s sake that I want to ensure all digital products can be inclusive from the very start of design and development.
Spiffy: How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?
Tamar: Our vision is to enable an inclusive digital world. While our product development work is focused on digital accessibility—we built SenseIT and lead our team by the principles of diversity and inclusion. This means, we have a heterogeneous team in terms of gender, age, religious beliefs, cultural background, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, and ability and disability. I certainly take pride in the overall approach we have as a company to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA).
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?
Tamar: We recently released a beta of our community version. This was a huge milestone for us, given that we worked around the clock to release this version to the market on time. We learned a lot from this release and are working to improve the product offering. Our goal is to enable individuals (developers, quality assurance engineers, and accessibility testers and experts) to use a low cost version of SenseIT and join our community.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn’t give up. What did you learn from it?
Tamar: I’ve had a handful of them—I guess it also depends how you measure your own failure. One of the prominent moments I felt like a failure was just before I raised funds for SenseIT. Intuitively, I knew I would succeed; yet, the process was slow and the number of rejections were so high they almost broke me. However, I didn’t stop. I didn’t give up. I recognized the need to revise my expectations in terms of my timeline. That helped me to reduce the feelings of failure and just keep going after my goal. Sometimes it’s a matter of shifting the perspective so that you can see the picture differently.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Tamar—it’s been an honor!
Tamar Schapira plays to win not only for herself but for the team and society. As a momprenuer, mentor, and motivator, Tamar is an ambitious, high-energy, and results-driven entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in management and business development. She is now building SenseIT to focus on eliminating the gap between those who can and cannot use the internet which is where so much of life happens. Tamar loves to bake, cook, and run—all ways to nourish herself and others. As SenseIT CEO and co-founder, Tamar’s nurturing ways and passion to identify problems are being directed to create solutions to help businesses succeed and positively impact society. (Nominated by Josef Scarantino from Hubspot Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on February 2, 2024.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Daniela Vega. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.