The next founder in our ‘Meet the founder’ series is Matt Pierri who shares the story behind his accessibility startup SociAbility .
Q: Who is the founder behind SociAbility, and what is your background?
A: Matt Pierri – I’m an Australian lawyer and social entrepreneur currently based in London, UK. I moved to the UK in 2016 to study a Master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford where I studied as a Rhodes Scholar. I’m passionate about empowering disabled people to enjoy better social inclusion and meaningful equality of opportunity. It’s time to change how we perceive, discuss and act towards disability and disabled people everywhere.
Q: Tell us the story behind your startup – why did you start your company?
A: As a wheelchair user, I’ve long been frustrated by the difficulty of finding out simple but important details about venue accessibility when making plans with friends and family. On the rare occasion that you can actually find any accessibility information for a venue, it is often incorrect, out of date or unhelpfully vague. Having started a successful student-led initiative to crowdsource accessibility information for colleges in Oxford, where I was living, I decided to shift my focus from colleges towards social venues more broadly. And voila! SociAbility was born.
Q: What does success look like for you?
A: Success looks like a more open, inclusive and accessible society. For me, the mission is clear – to empower disabled people to explore their communities by giving them better information about the world they live in. I’m focused on building SociAbility to be as helpful, user-friendly and reliable as possible. The more users we have, the more venues we can profile and the wider our reach, the better.
Q: What’s your biggest achievement so far?
A: To date, our biggest achievement is launching the first version of our app, with which we’re proud to say that our community has already mapped more than 350 venues across 8 countries.
Q: What are your plans for your startup over the next six months?
A: We’re currently focused on really understanding our users needs, wants and preferences to build the best product we can. Looking ahead, we’re redesigning and refining our app design, user-interface and user-experience. We’re growing our team and bringing onboard more in-house development talent and we’re excited to continue creating great partnerships and growing our network in London and across the UK. We’re loving the London-life and enjoying exploring the accessible tech scene in East London, where we’re now based!
Q: Tell us something interesting about yourself?
A: I learnt to play the bagpipes whilst at high school. In Melbourne, Australia… !
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