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TravelEZ Wins First-Ever Virtual $100K New Ventures Competition Hosted by Tufts University

04-29-2020 01:21 PM CET | Business, Economy, Finances, Banking & Insurance

Press release from: TravelEZ

April 28, 2020 | BOSTON, MA - On April 3, 2020, TravelEZ, a TripAdvisor-like service that connects people with accessible places, was announced the winner of the Social Impact track in the annual $100k New Ventures Competition hosted by the Tufts University Entrepreneurship Center. The 16th edition of the startup competition featured a record number of competing teams and was the first to be run virtually due to safety concerns around the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to winning $15,000 in non-dilutive funding, TravelEZ will also benefit from the recognition as a winner of what Forbes Magazine highlights as one of the 15 biggest university-sponsored competitions.

"It's been a joy to support TravelEZ's progress with the Tufts Entrepreneurship Ecosystem," said Tufts Gordon Institute's Executive Director Kevin Oye. "From the company's inception in the Entrepreneurship Leadership Studies program in 2018, to winning first place in our 2020 $100K New Ventures Competition in our social impact track, TravelEZ is proving itself to be a venture capable of improving the status quo. We look forward to seeing TravelEZ make a lasting and visible mark on the world."

For the tens of millions of Americans with disabilities or limitations, finding accessible venues and experiences ranges from challenging to impossible. This problem has strong ramifications for wheelchair users and senior citizens, and the problem is becoming more acute as the Baby Boomer population ages and experiences increasingly more mobility challenges.

Services such as Yelp and TripAdvisor have yet to provide a widely-adopted solution to this problem, and the Americans with Disabilities Act does not have the bandwidth to enforce accessibility regulations at all places at all times, leaving people with movement difficulties to do research by calling places ahead of time and relying on word-of-mouth.

TravelEZ removes the guesswork and hassle of planning by crowdsourcing, gathering, and organizing accessibility information.

"For anybody with a disability, accessibility is the first concern - even before price or reviews", said AccesSportAmerica's President Ross Lilley. "TravelEZ is finally solving the answer to the age-old question, 'Where can we go that is accessible?' It's not an overstatement to say that TravelEZ will open up the world to individuals who would otherwise not have the information they need to go out and explore new places."

"Even as an athlete and restaurant lover, stairs are still a hassle," said High Fives Foundation's CEO Roy Tuscany. "It's about time we have a resource to empower our community and make the world notice. TravelEZ also makes life more convenient. Who wants to wait around for the hostess to check to see if the bathroom's accessible when you can just check on your app. It's a game changer."

Slated for launch in Boston, MA and New York City, NY this summer, TravelEZ will initially provide accessibility reviews for over 1,500 restaurants, bars, and cafes. Each accessibility review includes pictures, checklists and comments on features like entrances, spaciousness, and restrooms. TravelEZ will expand its services to include hotel reviews and will roll out in other high-profile cities in 2021.

TravelEZ has already built a strong, trusted foundation in the community it is serving. Since deploying their proof-of-concept website in November of 2019, the platform has collected over 1,000 accessibility reviews, many of which have been contributed by members of the TravelEZ community themselves.

"People truly care about this mission. We've had nothing but support from the community," said TravelEZ founder Garrett Weinstein. "Aside from the amazing individuals helping develop the product, we're working with top-tier organizations including national non-profits, global wheelchair manufacturers, and local governmental organizations. Everyone wants this to succeed, and that is the most proven formula for success."

The company will launch their free iOS app in time for their summer launch. The app will allow users to browse and search accessible venues anywhere in Boston and NYC. The app is powered by Google Maps, so users will be able to view accessibility information provided by TravelEZ alongside general reviews of the food and venue atmosphere provided by Google. The app will also allow users to upload their own accessibility reviews.

The TravelEZ app will be available to download for free through the App Store. Android and desktop users can access the site through TravelEZ.org.

Garrett Weinstein, founder
TravelEZ
email: garrettw@TravelEZ.org
phone: 443-847-1919
address: 302 Kingsland Ave, Brooklyn NY 11222

TravelEZ was founded by Garrett Weinstein in response to too many inaccessible experiences with his grandmother. TravelEZ gives people the accessibility information they need ahead of time so they can focus on the fun parts of exploring. TravelEZ also empowers the community by providing a platform to review community accessibility.

For more information, please visit: TravelEZ.org

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