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Airbnb buys London startup Accomable

Airbnb has acquired London startup Accomable to expand home-renting opportunities for people with disabilities

Pictured: Airbnb has acquired Accomable

Airbnb  has acquired London startup Accomable to expand home-renting opportunities for people with disabilities, this is the latest expansion for Airbnb as it grows its global travel business.The deal includes adding to Accomable’s 1,100 house and apartment listings that can accommodate guests with physical disabilities to the Airbnb website.

The Accomable website, which is similar to Airbnb but only features properties accessible to people with disabilities, will be shut down in the coming months. Airbnb said it hired Accomable’s founders and most of its seven-person staff to build out Airbnb’s wheelchair-accessible housing inventory and provide more complete and accurate information to disabled travellers, who often rely on a hotel emailing pictures of a room to determine whether it is accessible.

Airbnb said it will add features so home owners can detail in their listings whether their homes have stairs or an elevator, doorways, and bathrooms wide enough to fit a wheelchair and showers with handlebars or a chairAccomable.

Co-founder Srin Madipalli, 31, started the company two years ago after quitting his job as a corporate lawyer and embarking on a five months of travel around the world. The company was founded in 2015 by Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley, friends who have spinal muscular atrophy, the startup raised $440,000 in seed funding and operates in more than 60 countries.

The Accomable website will wind down over the coming months, according to Airbnb, and its listings will be incorporated into the Airbnb platform. Madipalli said he repeatedly found that information about wheelchair accessibility at hotels was inaccurate.“You’d turn up to places and the shower was tiny or there was a step to get in,” he said. “You have to somehow improvise for the night and find a way to not properly use the bathroom. It’s just really humiliating and embarrassing.”

Accomable had lots of interested travelers but not enough cash or staff to build out the inventory, Madipalli said. The site was only able to fulfill about 5% to 10% of booking requests. He raised nearly $400,000 from investors.

“We see the need every day, which is why we wanted to team up with a bigger player,” Madipalli said.

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