Sweden: Malmö-based accessible travel startup Handiscover has raised €1.5 million [15 million Swedish Krona. / $1.74 million] from the EIC European Innovation Council] Fund to support its international growth plans.
A specialised OTA for travellers with reduced mobility, disabilities or special needs, Handiscover, which was founded in 2015, offers booking options for holiday accommodation including apartments and hotels. The platform, which lists more than 35,000 properties in 100+ countries, says that there are around 120 million people in Europe alone who need travel adaptations.
Handiscover was hit hard by enforced travel restrictions at the height of the pandemic last year, but it received a financial injection of €1.6 million in May 2020 to remain in operation and continue development. With the latest investment, the company is expanding to help other businesses adapt their offerings to support travellers with special needs.
Handiscover CEO Sebastien Archambeaud told DiGITAL.se: “The global pandemic meant that we very quickly had to accelerate the development of our new offering. Consequently, our accessibility management program has already shown successful signs of its potential in Sweden, and this investment will help us accelerate this.”
During the pandemic, Handiscover said that it had developed new areas of its business with cloud-based accessibility, evaluation and management systems and training programmes.
The startup is aiming to help other companies in Europe adapt their operations to facilitate accessible travel through a SaaS solution, subscription-based cloud solution, with disability data and available adaptations. Its platform will support those not only with mobility disabilities but also those with hearing, visual and cognitive impairments, as well as those with allergies.
The new funding will then be used to develop the solution and take it beyond the Swedish market.
“Securing this additional funding I see as proof of the unique offer we offer in the market and the quality of the team,” added Archambeaud.