Expedia Group has announced the 12 startups that will participate in its inaugural Open World Accelerator.
The accelerator, which was announced in September 2022, sees startups spend the next five months joining virtual workshops led by Expedia Group employees as well as some external partners.
Workshops will cover business strategy, finance, marketing and product.
Each startup will have biweekly meetings with two mentors from the group, one from business strategy and one from technology team.
They will also have access to existing and upcoming Expedia technology and programs including its Travel Agent Affiliate Program and Affiliate Hub and Expedia Media Solutions.
In a blog post to introduce the 2023 finalists, Aditi Mohapatra, vice president of global social impact and sustainability at Expedia Group, says the accelerator, “is designed to advance innovation in the travel industry by supporting startups and small-and medium-sized businesses to fast-track their growth and innovate on Expedia Group's purpose-built technology platform.”
She adds that next year the accelerator will launch an additional program focused on “co-developing new capabilities.”
Alejandra Fernandez, co-founder of Flywallet, a save now, buy later solution for travel, describes being part of the accelerator as a “match made in heaven.”
Subscribe to our newsletter below
When we started Flywallet, we always imagined one day sharing our vision with a big travel company like Expedia Group. So being at their headquarters in Seattle and pitching to a room full of executives how global socioeconomic inclusion can expand the travel economy is a moment we will never forget.
“The reach and visibility Expedia Group provides is a big opportunity that will make a significant difference. Meanwhile, our target demographic is extremely price sensitive. By empowering them, Flywallet is giving them a huge incentive to give their loyalty to Expedia. We will now be able to reward our users with discounts from Expedia's family of brands as they meet savings milestones.”
The remaining startups in the first cohort, which focuses on increasing access for underserved travelers, are:
- Be My Eyes - connecting people who need sighted support with volunteers and companies via live video.
- Becoming RentABLE - raising awareness of accessibility in short-term rental.
- Geosure - a specialist in local safety data that assesses the risk of neighborhoods to help travelers.
- Green Book Global - a Black travel review site enabling members to write and read destination reviews as well as book trips and earn cash.
- Greether - a service connecting female travelers to local women “Greeters.”
- Handiscover - a platform helping companies gather accessibility data to make life easier for those with disabilities in daily life as well as when they travel.
- IAccess Innovations - a mobile application enabling users to rate locations based on accessibility.
- Misterb&b - an accommodation platform helping the LGBTQ+ travel community to travel safely and feel welcome.
- Sociability - a mobile app helping disabled people find accessible places to explore.
- SoloTrvlr - a female-first travel platform with advice and recommendations for women traveling alone.
- Wheel the World - an online travel agency for travelers with disabilities enabling them to book accessible hotels and tours, which was a PhocusWire Hot 25 Startup for 2022.