Getaboutable’s Founder, Dr Yasmine Gray, has always been passionate about travel and adventure but has found it challenging to enjoy new experiences as she has become less mobile over the years due to multiple sclerosis. The idea for the website started in 2008, as Yasmine and a friend were discussing their frustrations in trying to find information about accessible leisure activities and travel destinations. This led her to create getaboutable.com which launched in February 2016.
In 2017, Yasmine joined The Mill House, a social enterprise accelerator, working side-by-side with other social ventures to challenge and support each other in their mutual aims of sustainable and scalable social change. Yasmine quickly realised that in order for getaboutable.com to be sustainable, she would need to recruit board members and additional resources to the team. The getaboutable.com vision was also recognised with a 2017 ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award for Innovation in Design.
2018 was a transformative year for getaboutable. Yasmine instituted an Advisory Panel to help her direct the company. She then was successful in getting a number of grants from local government and philanthropies. These grants provided the means to create the Accessible Canberra project, which promotes accessible travel & leisure in the ACT and gives people with a disability the confidence to get out and about in the community by increasing accessibility information. Yasmine then pitched getaboutable at a Canberra entrepreneurial event seeking investors and technical partners. This is how she met Andrew Vassili and Steven Diep, Co-Founders of Simplfi (a Canberra-based digital consultancy), who were attending the event and looking to use their technical expertise to contribute to society and a great cause. This led Andrew and Steven to join getaboutable as technical co-founders in August 2018, and their subsequent revamp of the getaboutable.com website.
Yasmine, Andrew and Steve complement each other well, and getaboutable grew significantly in 2019. Major achievements included winning the Microsoft Australia AI for Accessibility Challenge, the Canberra Region Tourism Award for specialised tourism services, and significant grants from the ACT Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund and a three-year grant from The Snow Foundation to continue the work of the Accessible Canberra project, as well as starting to generate revenue, securing funding to host the first Asia-Pacific Accessible Tourism Conference & Expo (APATCE) in Canberra and pitching at Start-up Grind in Melbourne.
Getaboutable is now actively seeking seed round investment to scale from our ACT foothold to grow our revenue base nationally and globally. We are continuing to advocate for accessible and inclusive tourism within the mainstream tourism sector, promoting it as a significant market in the recovery of the tourism sector following the 2020 bushfires and coronavirus pandemic. Before these events, accessible tourism was worth more to the Australian economy than Chinese tourism. Unfortunately, the devastation caused by the pandemic in the travel & leisure sector generally has also obliterated getaboutable’s revenue source in the short-term and forced postponement/re-think of when/how to hold APATCE. Never one to waste a crisis, Yasmine has been actively developing strategic partnerships during the downturn for the benefit of getaboutable’s long-term interests.