Entrepreneur Handicap: Vocaléo, the app that “makes objects talk” is aimed at BtoB

Handicap: Vocaléo, the app that “makes objects talk” is aimed at BtoB




Contactless communication technology is not just used to pay with your credit card. Proof of this is the new mobile application that makes life easier for the visually impaired, marketed by two young entrepreneurs, Marion Thièrion and Marion Dufrenne.

Vocaléo allows you to associate a personalized voice recording with a place or an object thanks to adhesive NFC mini-chips. One can imagine for example a chip applied to a medicine box. When bringing your smartphone to the product, a voice message is triggered detailing the dosage and the contraindications.

15,000 euros of investment

Available for free on the app stores since January 2021, the app has been downloaded by around 350 people. The young Lyon startup founded in August 2020 hopes to reach around 1,000 users by the end of the year. Visually impaired people or their caregivers. A cautious target compared to the potential market of 1.7 million visually impaired people in France.

“The main investment item for the company was the development and maintenance of the application, around 15,000 euros”, specifies Marion Dufrenne, herself a visually impaired daughter, who met her partner on the benches of Sup de Pub Lyon (INSEEC group). The independent developer who supported the co-founders will be remunerated with the first revenues from sales of NFC chips. Compatible only with the application, these reusable tags are available on the start-up’s website or directly from the application (14.99 euros for a pack of 10).

A business clientele

But the economic model of the device is not based solely on the sale of chips to individuals. To make the activity viable, Vocaléo targets companies and local authorities whose orders reach higher volumes. His first professional client, The Companions of Bonsai, uses the chips to explain the history of the tree to the customer by voice message and give advice on maintenance.

The young growth is also in discussion with a pharmaceutical laboratory which could use the device for products intended for the visually impaired. At the same time, the entrepreneurs are discussing with a chain of hotels which would insert the chips into the information carriers that can be found at the reception or in the rooms.



The Vocaléo team, Marion Thièrion (in the foreground) and Marion Dufrenne (in the background).
– Vocaléo

The public sphere is also a promising target. “Town halls could place NFC chips at reception or on newsletters to give visually impaired users information on the hours and accessibility of the various services”, explains Marion Thièrion. In reality, the use of Vocaléo would be “infinitely adaptable”, continues the entrepreneur. And to cite as an example food product brands that would integrate the device to communicate on the composition of recipes or the presence of allergens.

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