Most hotels have few accessibility features and the demand for more accessible lodging options is at an all-time high at the moment. To complicate matters further, holiday search engines rarely list accessibility features, and if they do, the information is often unreliable. So, what should a disabled person do, give up? No. One young MBA decided to do something about it.
Meet Srin Madipalli
Srin is a true renaissance man. He is a lawyer, adventurer, computer programmer, entrepreneur, and even flies planes in his spare time. He also suffers from muscular atrophy, a condition that required him to use a wheelchair for a vast portion of his life. Bored with life as a corporate lawyer, Srin decided to take a 6-month break to travel the world.
Srin, the Globe Trotter
Accompanying him on this trip was his friend Martyn Sibley, who also has spinal muscular atrophy. But the duo soon realized that their journey was not going to be easy. Everywhere they went, they struggled to find accessible accommodation. Even pictures and information on accessible features proved hard to find. Frustrated, the duo started an online magazine and blog called Disability Horizons to help disabled adventurers. But they felt that it was not enough to address the problems they encountered.
Srin Gets an MBA
In 2012, Srin decided to enroll in an MBA program at the University of Oxford. Instead of choosing some of the usual top careers for MBA grads, he decided to use the entrepreneurship skills he learned in business school to impact on people’s lives. He also undertook courses such as design, thinking this would help him better understand the needs of consumers. Also on his list of courses was entrepreneurial finance. He was soon putting his new found skills to use.
His Career as an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship is usually one of the most sought after careers with an MBA. But even before graduating, Srin Madipalli was still working on entrepreneurial ventures. For instance, he continued to develop Disability Horizons. He also involved himself in professional networking via a site called Globe.
Flywave, a platform for collecting and analyzing data for unmanned aerial vehicles, was also a brainchild of his. He then enrolled in a month-long online course on coding offered by One Month. Again, he put to skills to use by starting Lawrea, an app which people can use to contact trained lawyers for legal advice.
But despite his success, he could not forget the plight of disabled travelers. He figured that although they had other needs like medical devices or insurance, one was the most pressing. Accommodation! And so, he used his coding skills to develop a platform for accessible accommodation. He called it Accommable.
Accommable: Providing Accessible Accommodation for the Disabled
Madipalli launched Accommable in June 2015 after three months of development. Today, the platform has hundreds of properties listed on it from over 30 countries. Madipalli adds that he is currently in discussions with major hotel chains in the hopes of getting them on Accommable.
Srin Madipalli proves that disability is not inability. Despite all the challenges that were put before him, his list of successes is longer than that of most can boast of. His Accommable platform is his best idea yet, and will probably not be his last.