Aira pulls in $12M for smart-glasses tech to help the blind, visually impaired


San Diego start-up Aira, which makes a smart-glasses-based, OnStar-like service for the visually impaired, said this week that it has raised $12 million in a second round of venture capital funding.

Jazz Venture Partners and Arboretum Ventures led the round. Existing investors Lux Capital, Arch Venture Partners and Felicis Ventures also participated.

The company is wrapping up a series of beta trails of its technology with 200 customers. This latest funding round aims to enable Aira to expand its service to additional blind and visually impaired people.

Using camera-equipped smart glasses that connect to Aira’s smartphone app, a visually impaired person is able to connect with a remote agent to assist them in real time.

The Aira agent sees not only what the smart glasses camera sees but also has access to the user’s profile, location information, Google Maps for directions and Yelp reviews for nearby businesses, among other data. The service helps with everything from shopping to navigating streets/public transportation.