Pitched to be the ‘Airbnb for the disabled’, travel tech startup Accomable, which helps disabled and elderly people find adapted hotels and holiday rentals, has raised £300,000 in seed funding – the highest amount ever raised by a business of its kind to date.
The round drew support from leading investors in the tech and hospitality sector, and will allow Accomable to expand its offering to include thousands of additional adapted properties and services such as specialist insurance and transport, targeting disabled and elderly customers worldwide.
The company was founded by entrepreneurs and childhood friends, Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley, both of whom are wheelchair users due to spinal muscular atrophy. As regular travellers, Madipalli and Sibley were increasingly finding it difficult to find travel information for adapted properties. They launched Accomable in the summer of 2015 to create a platform for this neglected demographic. The company received initial funding from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Madipalli’s alma mater, Saïd Business School, Oxford University, via an initiative to support ventures that deliver social impact.
Since then, Accomable has grown with over 500 properties in 36 countries on the platform; with a further 1500 properties in the process of being vetted via a collaboration with travel giant HomeAway. Accomable has offices in London and Austin, Texas, with plans to move into Singapore this year. The company was also a part of an award-winning documentary that premiered in December 2015 at a UN sponsored film festival in New York City. The film charts Madipalli’s journey to teach himself to code in order to build and launch Accomable.
10 per cent of the UK population (over 6.4 million people) considers itself to have a mobility issue according to a YouGov survey conducted last year, while 19 per cent of the US population (over 60 million people) have some form of disability as of 2012, yet finding appropriately adapted holiday homes can be difficult for families and individuals who are either personally affected by disability or who care for someone that is. Accomable solves this problem by ensuring vendors provide high quality images and information to help users decide whether the property is appropriate.
“This investment will enable us to accelerate the growth of Accomable, and become the world’s leading travel-booking platform, not only for people with disabilities but also for the rapidly increasing number of elderly people and people with a mobility issue, who are otherwise scant provided for here in the UK and around the world,” Accomable CEO and co-founder, Srin Madipalli, said.
The company plans to use its seed funding to address its customer base’s increasing needs, from expanding the number of properties on the platform, to broadening its service provision to include specialist travel insurance and adapted car hire.