Here’s a question for you – what do the following have in common:
– A Young Australian of the Year and Singularity University graduate who’s built telepresence robots that enable and care
– A former high profile executive who was hit by a fire engine at 34 leaving him in a wheelchair for life, now building with his wife a platform helping wheelchair users to find accessible options to continue to get outdoors and to the beach
– An Iranian engineering team who met an English-Australian set of hustlers and built a hardware and gaming platform to assist with rehabilitation exercises for kids with Cerebral Palsy
– A couple who, based on personal experience caring for their parents with life threatening illnesses, gave up their lives in finance to put it all on the line to build a home care and companion services marketplace
– A game design graduate with a cochlear implant who saw the power of games to help him relearn sounds and is now building a gaming platform to offer it to everyone
– A disability support worker turned government advocate, and design and innovation consultant pioneering a scheduling and personal assistant platform built “intellectual disability first”
– A team with Y Combinator pedigree pioneering the use of Virtual Reality for social scenario training, initially focused unconscious bias and empathy training for age, gender and people with a disability
– A wheelchair user and serial social entrepreneur who was ACT young Australian of the year pioneering the use of game simulations to assist in training of disability support workers
Answer: they are all going through the Remarkable accelerator.
Remarkable is a startup accelerator run by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and funded by Telstra Foundation and FACS that’s one of 2 accelerators in the world focused on the disability-tech space.
The market size of China
While that may sound like a niche within a niche, fact is 1 in 5 people globally have a disability, making the segment approximately the size of China @ 1.3B people.
There’s an old joke in startup circles about putting “we are aiming for 1% of China” in the market sizing of your pitch deck … but say “we are aiming for 1% of the disability sector” and people might still think you’re targeting too small a market!
With the degrees of separation moving from Karinthy’s 6 degrees down to what often seems like 1-2 degree at most, that means that nearly every one of us, globally is likely to be personally or 1 degree connected to disability – be it physical, intellectual or behavioural.
So disability and disability-tech is not a small segment of society, it’s something that involves all of us.
What a lot of people don’t realise is that the NDIS in Australia has recognised this and created some of the most radical legislation in Australia’s history, and certainly some of the biggest changes in welfare since Medicare. It will put $22B directly into the hands of people with a disability for them to spend on services as they see fit.
Imagine the government putting all health care spend in your wallet for you to spend as you see fit? That’s equivalent to what’s happened with NDIS.
Disrupting the disability-tech space
It’s in the context above that Remarkable has come along with a fresh take on a startup accelerator that is focused just on the disability-tech space and the disruption occurring in the disability sector. On growing startups focused on combining social and commercial impact, and that are using technology to innovate and scale.
Remarkable currently has 8 startups going through it’s 2nd cohort:
Aubot – telepresence robots that enable and care
Better Goals – Australia’s first personal assistant designed “intellectual disability first”
Enabler – gamified training for disability support workers
Equal Reality – VR for unconscious bias and empathy training
Games for Hearoes – a games platform teaching people to hear again
Home Care Heroes – companion services on demand
Lusio Rehab – gamifying rehabilitation for kids with Cerebral Palsy
Wheeleasy – Trip Advisor for people in a wheelchair
One of the really exciting things about Remarkable is that on almost any axis of inclusion and diversity we have a strong showing. Gender, age, culture, language, disability – you name it.
So what’s my role at Remarkable? I won’t lie, I have quite possibly one of the most enjoyable and rewarding jobs in the world – I get to spend time each week getting deep in the trenches with the social impact startups above helping them achieve their product, team and traction goals.
Technically they call this role “Entrepreneur in Residence”, but I like to call this, “Enthusiasm in Residence” because if you didn’t love it and give it 150% – you wouldn’t do it.
Demo Day: 31 July 2017
Remarkable is 11 weeks into its 16 week program which culminates in a Demo Day on July 31, and like all accelerator programs is only as strong as the community around it. If you’re a potential mentor, advisor or investor that cares about social impact and the disability-tech space, we’d love to have you there. Please get in touch!
I’m going to write some more about Remarkable ahead of Demo Day, and wanted to end this post with a question, what’s something you’d like to hear more on?
1) What makes Remarkable different to other startup accelerators
2) I’m thinking of building my own disability-tech startup, where do I start?
3) How incorporating universal and inclusive design into your UX can be a competitive advantage
4) Why the NDIS is one of the most radical welfare policies in Australia’s history
Or feel free to give your own suggestion in the comments below!