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The Unusual Way This Startup Found Funding

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This story appears in the June 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The challenge: Suman Kanuganti and Yuja Chang knew zero VCs but needed funding for their startup, Aira. It creates internet-connected, camera-equipped for the blind; if a person wearing them needs help navigating somewhere, an on-call sighted person can watch the camera feed and verbally direct the blind person.

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The solution: Rather than beg for meetings, the cofounders became active in the blind community, where they hoped to find support. At a fund-raiser for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) in 2014, they chatted up the evening's speaker, Lux Capital partner Larry Bock. He'd lost most of his vision to macular degeneration. "I was so in awe of the low-profile, inconspicuous but extremely powerful nature of the ," he says. Soon he provided seed capital and joined as Aira's executive chairman.

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