SUMM – Easy language by the klick of one button

Having your own target group in the family is probably the best motivation to make the world a better place with your own company. In case of SUMM AI, this, combined with research projects in the field of artificial intelligence, was the starting point for the company's creation.

Having your own target group in the family is probably the best motivation to make the world a better place with your own company. In case of SUMM AI, this, combined with research projects in the field of artificial intelligence, was the starting point for the company’s creation. But first things first: ….

We have an appointment with Flora and Vanessa from SUMM AI to share their start-up success story. On their way back from the notary’s office with a Business Angel, we meet the two cheerful founders in one of the atriums of the Munich Urban Colab for our interview. Not only does the Legal Tech Colab work in the coworking space on Dachauer Straße, but SUMM AI also regularly sets up camp here when the team meets in Munich. We set up an interview spot and ask the two how SUMM AI was founded, how they met and what they experienced on the way to their own start-up.

The problem: Millions of people are excluded from important information by complicated everyday language

In Germany alone, there are up to 20 million people who need Easy Language to find their way in everyday life. For example, because they have a learning disability, are educationally disadvantaged or speak German as a second language. And that’s why our complicated everyday language usually excludes them from important information – for example, from legal texts, news or important circulars to the population.

However, translating their own texts into Easy Language is extremely complex for companies, as Easy Language is subject to a set of rules and requires expertise to implement correctly.

How does easy language look like?

To get an idea of what Easy Language looks like, read the previous paragraph in Easy Language again:

Millions of people don’t get important infos.
The reason is that the language is too difficult.
In Germany, there are a lot of people who need Easy Language.

For example:
– Because they have a disability.
– Because they are did not study for long.
– Because they speak German poorly.

These people often don’t understand important texts.

These texts can be:
– Laws
– News from the media
– Letters from the authorities

The texts are often not available in Easy Language.
That’s because it’s difficult to translate into Easy Language.
Easy Language has rules.
And you have to know a lot to translate correctly into Easy Language.

The mission: Making the world more accessible to all

To ensure that everyone has access to important content and information, SUMM AI’s mission is to use AI to solve this problem at the click of a button.

SUMM AI’s translation tool allows institutions to translate complicated legal texts, for example, into Easy Language with a single click. Just as we can easily translate a text from German into Spanish with other AI-based tools, we can now do the same with Easy Language.

Easy Language is a very simplified form of the English language – it corresponds to the language competence level A1 – A2. It has a simpler grammatical structure and focuses more on information content than on aesthetics or a ‘beautiful’ style of language.

As of 2018, there is a far-reaching legal obligation for the public sector in Germany to provide a large proportion of all texts in Easy Language, making information accessible to everyone. With the SUMM AI translation tool, this is now a matter of seconds rather than days or weeks.

“SUMM AI is the DeepL for easy language. We make the world understandable for eyeryone with understandable and accessaable text at the klick of one button.”

Flora Geske
Co-Founder SUMM AI

The initial spark: Finding the target group within your own family.

The three founders, Flora (CEO), Vanessa (CRO) and Nico (CTO), came up with the idea for SUMM AI while studying at the Technical University of Munich. There, they were mainly involved in research in the field of artificial intelligence. They quickly developed the desire to use their knowledge to solve a truly relevant social problem.

The initial spark came from Flora’s aunt. She belongs to the target group of Easy Language because she is educationally disadvantaged, but very interested in current events and wants to actively participate in society. In fact, Flora, Vanessa and Nico started building SUMM AI for her. But they quickly realized that it was a bigger problem that affected many people and needed a solution, which SUMM AI now provides.

Award winner for creation of accessibility

The SUMM AI team has already convinced several municipalities and institutions that were looking for a quick and easy solution to make their services more accessible. In addition to customers such as the City of Hamburg and Deutsche Bahn, SUMM AI has also convinced several juries, e.g. winning the prestigious Bavarian Digital Award 2023.

Flora, Vanessa and Nico started their start-up right after university. It was therefore very difficult in the beginning to find their way in their new role as founders, to find the right people with enough domain knowledge and to deal with the difficult customer group of public institutions.

But SUMM AI has made it and the team continues to grow. Flora and Vanessa tell us that sometimes they can hardly believe what an inspiring group of people they have built, working together every day to fulfill the common mission. They are both very proud to be helping to make the public sector more digital and accessible. Being part of this and making a difference is something they both find extremely fulfilling and makes them very proud.

We want SUMM AI to not only contribute to accessibility through further customer acquisition, but also to contribute even more to raising awareness of the need for Easy Language.

Want to know more about the founding story? 

In our upcoming interview with Flora and Vanessa you can learn more about SUMM AI and the stumbling blocks on the way to starting a business. So stay tuned.

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