Jim Fruchterman founded Silicon Valley's first non-profit technology company, Arkenstone, in 1989, with the primary objective of making the best reading machines affordable for blind and low-vision people. The most recent version of the optical character recognition system he and his team originated is currently used extensively in both assistive technology contexts as well as massive corporate and government applications like the United States Postal Service.

While endlessly pursuing engineering and production methods to make assistive technology increasingly affordable, Arkenstone also introduced the first Windows talking reader, OpenBook; WYNN, a reader for people with dyslexia or other reading disabilities; and a map reading program.

In 2000, Jim sold Arkenstone to Freedom Scientific, and founded Benetech, a non-profit adaptive technology company. In 2002, Benetech launched Bookshare.org, a shared online library of scanned books for people with visual impairments that currently offers over 90,000 titles.