Here at Accelerator we love hearing about all the new and exciting products being developed by our tech startup community, so we recently caught up with Damiano La Rocca, Founder of Seable to find out more about the company, why they started and what they want to achieve in the future.
When was Seable founded?
How would you describe Seable?
A social enterprise tour operator that organises amazing tailored holidays for blind and partially sighted travellers.
What led you to start Seable? Where did the idea come from?
Twelve years ago, my father, Carmelo, was hit by a drunk driver. While in hospital, he befriended a young man named Martino who had also suffered an accident and was recovering from a similar operation. As Carmelo recovered and regained the use of his legs, Martino did not. During one of their many conversations, the topic of scuba diving came up and Martino expressed his desire to try this out. After looking into scuba diving lessons for wheelchair users, it became apparent that this was not something that was widely catered for.
As an experienced scuba diver, Carmelo took it upon himself to become an instructor and teach Martino himself. Martino enjoyed scuba diving so much that he became the first paraplegic man to dive 59 meters, a Guinness World Record in 2007. From this, both Carmelo and Martino decided that they wanted to help other people with disabilities and so set up an Italian based charity, Life Improvement For Everyone (L.I.F.E)
L.I.F.E focused on rehabilitation and accessible sports so that people with disabilities can, as their motto states, ‘accept the challenge’. L.I.F.E has since gone on to help many other impaired people including young Benedetta Spampinato (blind) who also holds a Guinness World Record (2009), for deep sea diving.
Inspired by my father and after researching the topic at university, I realised that holidays for people with visual impairment was not widely catered for and knew (from my father’s example) that accessible tourism worked and that there was a gap in the market. From this, Seable was born. Now, Seable is connecting everyone with the opportunities of L.I.F.E. with culture, food and adventure packed holidays accessible for everyone.
I tried to incite change by founding a corporate accelerator for my employer at the time – a large public engineering company – but our hands were tied in so many respects and as an organisation, we just didn’t have the right talent or ambition to make a big impact. So I took matters into my own hands.
What were you doing before you started Seable?
I studied Events Management BA (Hons) at London Met’s Guildhall School of Business and Law.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
The best thing is that I can work from anywhere in the world and have way more holidays than an employee.
What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
Making critical business decisions daily!
If you weren’t running Seable, what would you be doing instead?
I would probably be working as a salesman or a restaurant manager.
Where do you see the business in five years?
I see Seable as the main point of contact for worldwide holidays for the blind community and helping thousands of people improve their wellbeing.
What is your favourite thing about being part of the Accelerator community?
It’s like having a cool family that has got your back when you need it most.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
You need to start spending money if you want to make money.
What is your ultimate goal in running Seable?
To create a workplace for visually impaired people that can run a successful company for themselves.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
A lot of people are inspired by the idea of “helping people” through their work. I believe the best way to help people is to step up and lead. The world needs more leaders. With this in mind, I think the following quote by Seth Godin is particularly important: “The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.”
Thank you Damiano for the catch up and telling us more about Seable. Enjoy your next trip!
Interested in finding more about Seable and their tailored holidays? You can find out more about Seable here.