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BWSmallBiz -- Backstory

Bio: Mike Calvo


WHO: CEO of Serotek, which makes accessibility software

AGE: 42

WHERE: Minneapolis

EMPLOYEES: 22

REVENUE: $1.2 million

REVERSE DISCRIMINATION: "If you're sighted," Calvo says, "chances are we're not going to hire you." About 90% of Serotek's workforce is blind and home-based, from tech support in Texas and Michigan to the operations manager in North Carolina. "When investors heard this was the way we were going to run the company, they were like, 'No, no, no, no!' "

NOTHING SELLS LIKE FREE: When Serotek started giving away its software online, some 10,000 users signed up within two weeks. The company makes money on its enterprise applications and by charging monthly fees for services.

FRIEND ME: Last year Serotek rolled out the Socializer, which lets blind Web users IM, chat, post to Facebook, and use Twitter. Its Remote Incident Manager is the first software to allow a blind person to do tech support.

Return to the BWSmallBiz June/July 2009 Table of Contents


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