Dealflow | March 21, 2023

Wheel the World secures $6 million to make travel more accessible to people with disabilities

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, March 21 – Wheel the World is a travel planning site aims to “make the world accessible” for people with disabilities.

“We believe that we, people with disabilities, should experience the world like anyone else,” says the company. Wheel the World’s co-founder, Alvaro Silberstein, who uses a wheelchair. (Roughly 2% of the world’s population requires a wheelchair; 11% of Americans have a mobility-related disability.)

The Berkeley, Calif.-based company offers planned, disabled-accessible trips to more than 50 destinations, including New York, London, Jaipur, India, and Cusco, Peru. It also offers a search feature for accessible hotels.

Wheel of the World raised $6 million in a pre-Series A round from online travel site Kayak’s venture arm, Detroit Venture Partners, REI Co-op’s Path Ahead Ventures, CLIN Fund and others.

Traveling with a disability

International airlines are expected to fly nearly four billion passengers this year, representing a near recovery to pre-Covid travel levels. Travel can be disproportionately expensive, onerous and logistically-difficult for people with restricted mobility.

Investing to close disability wealth and access gaps and empower individuals is an emerging trend in impact investing. Enable Ventures, led by Regina Kline, is investing in companies addressing the disability wealth gap.

The Ford Foundation and Borealis Philanthropy have partnered on the Disability x Tech Fund to channel $1 million to organizations working at the intersection of disability rights, justice and technology.