BIG IdeaBounce 2024 | 14 Finalists Dazzle In SharkTank Contest

Team Uplift

School Affiliation: WashU

Description: A travel planning app for people with disabilities.

Problem:

According to the WHO, 1/6th of the world has a disability with over 50% of them having difficulties traveling. Each year travelers spend over $58.2 billion on accessible travel and yet face significant obstacles due to the lack of centralized, reliable, and community-driven resources. Despite this being a multi-billion-dollar market, information related to accessible transportation, accommodations, and attractions is often scattered, unreliable, or simply non-existent.

Solution:

Our solution is an easy-to-use mobile app where users can read and write reviews based on their own experiences. These reviews are then used to populate an interactive and customizable map interface for users to explore, navigate, and discover places near them, all while easily deploying accessible resources on the way.

Market:

The WHO reports there are an estimated 1.3 billion disabled people in the world, of all ages and genders, with this figure growing 4.7 percent between 1990 and 2017. And according to MMGY Travel Intelligence, a research firm focused on the travel and hospitality industry, $58.2 billion a year is spent by disabled individuals on travel. And yet still the top listed concern in this research by disabled people is a need for increased accessibility information and expanded infrastructure. Our solution is able to provide for the target market’s top need, while also expanding site-specific information for all travelers, tapping into the $631 billion dollar travel and tourism sector as a whole and its 3.47% growth annually.

Competition:

No other solution on the market is as centralized, reliable, or community-driven. Disability-specific travel agencies on the market right now employ a human-backend, which can create a cost-barrier. Other existing resources such as Tripadvisor and comparable alternatives often contain large amounts of information, but oftentimes users have to scroll through dozens, or even hundreds of reviews to get to useful accessibility information.

Value Creation:

Our solution not only crowdsources this information, but also uses it to power a universally accessible tool that aims to revolutionize the way people with disabilities plan and experience their travels. By leveraging the collective knowledge of the community, our platform provides up-to-date and detailed insights into accessible transportation, accommodations, and places to visit worldwide. Our app integrates advanced mapping features, real-time updates, and personalized preferences, ensuring that users can navigate their journeys with ease. Additionally, it fosters a sense of community by allowing users to share their firsthand experiences and recommendations, further enriching the platform’s wealth of information. In doing so, we aspire to break down barriers and make the world more accessible for everyone, one journey at a time. No more mindless trudging through dozens of websites, calling ahead for hours on end, or winging it, when there’s no information at all.

The Team:

George Mitrev, B.S. Systems Engineering, B.S. Biomedical Engineering, Minor in Computer Science, Graduating in 2024; Josh Nixon, B.B.A Finance, B.A. International Relations, Graduating in 2024; Ceridwen Grady, B.A. Art History and Business, Graduating in 2024

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