Wheel the World, the travel startup that provides inclusive experiences for people with disabilities, raised US$6 million in a pre-Series A investment round led by Chilean venture capital fund Kayak Ventures. The deal also involved investment firms Detroit Venture Partners, Dadneo, Amarena, REI Co-op Path Ahead Ventures, CLIN Fund, WeBoost, and Gillian Trans, former CEO of Booking.com.
Alvaro Silberstein and Camilo Navarro, co-founders, Chileans, and childhood friends, revealed in an interview with TechCrunch that this funding will be used for customer retention and new user acquisition. To this end, they plan to develop new products to help improve the customer experience in booking travel, accommodation, and group travel.
Over the next two years, they say, the company will focus on adding value to travelers with its platform, thus achieving new user acquisition and retaining customers in its largest market, the US. Sixty-nine percent of Wheel, the World’s users, come from the US.
In the interview, the co-founders also announced that they plan to partner with new destination management companies to increase the user base. The goal is to have 12 thousand travelers on their travel booking platform by the end of 2024, a goal that could be achieved with the capital round they raised. It is known that this round is part of a SAFE note (SAFE stands for simple agreement for future equity) that the startup agreed with investors and will be part of the Series A round of investment they will seek soon.
Silberstein and Navarro founded this company in 2016, an idea that arose as a result of a car accident Silberstein had at the age of 18 that left him immobilized 75% of his body. Some time later, seeing the difficulties that people with disabilities have in traveling and getting around, they sought a way to develop inclusive experiences in tourist sites around the world with trained guides and all-terrain adaptive equipment. The name Wheel The World comes from an expedition Silberstein made in a special wheelchair in Torres del Paine Park in Patagonia.
The startup has been making a difference in solving accessibility issues in the tourism industry ever since.
Today, Wheel the World has 22 domestic and international destinations in countries such as Chile, Mexico, the USA, Peru, and Tanzania. It is preparing for the next stage of growth that will be boosted by the investment round it managed to raise.
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