Startup pitch: YonderWork combines travel with coworking
Putting work and travel together in a literal way, YonderWork provide an international community experience for remote workers which combines travel, coworking, and professional development.
Launched in February, the startup is targeting mid-level professionals, not the young backpacker/party crowd. The husband-and-wife team behind it, Nick and Kristin Messina, say they want people who are productive and successful in their jobs and who already have a location-independent job when joining.
Each stint lasts for two months, so a person can sign up for just one country (2-months), a region (4-months), or longer. Optional local professional development includes things like a 3-D printing workshop with Makerspace in Thailand, plus many skill-sharing events.
A Q&A with the co-founders:
What problem does your business solve?
A common complaint among digital nomads and other remote workers, is loneliness on the road. They often feel they lack a community for social interaction, networking, and professional collaboration.
Adding to this, they are constantly having to juggle working full-time with planning and organizing travel logistics, many times with little local knowledge (finding lodging, deciding on a workspace with reliable Internet, planning sightseeing).
YonderWork provides an international community experience for techs, creative and other remote workers which combines travel, coworking, and professional development.
Participants have opportunities to collaborate, share skills, and explore new cultures with all the travel logistics taken care of.
Names of founders, their management roles, and number of full-time paid staff?
- Kristin Messina (Business Development and Finance)
- Nick Messina (Strategy and Marketing)
At this time, we are fully self-funded.
We charge customers an up-front fee to participate in each travel experience.
Why do you think the pain point you’re solving is painful enough that customers are willing to pay for your solution?
Individuals and employers are increasingly realizing the benefits of remote working (productivity and retention) and coworking (skill sharing and creativity). Coworking has even been deemed “the future of work.”
At the same time, we are finding that the aspirations of the millennial generation are more closely tied to travel and meaningful experiences than material wealth.
Digital nomads and other remote workers, however, are finding that balancing work and travel can be difficult and isolating.
YonderWork is the solution. For a price point lower than the cost of living in many major U.S. and European cities, participants can stay productive, accelerate their professional growth, build meaningful relationships, and travel the world with fun and interesting people.
We have a stellar team and two great advisors including Eddie Rubio, CEO of Grupo EMR, and Peter Zysk, a business and communications strategist with The Brunswick Group.
Additionally, both YonderWork founders have experience operating in international environments; Kristin with sourcing for US Agency for International Development projects and Nick with implementing Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in Latin America for a smartphone logistics firm.
YonderWork differs from other programs, such as Remote Year, in a few ways. It allows shorter stints away and has a maximum of 30 participants per location.
It also partners with thought leader organizations, such as Designing for Social Innovation and Leadership (affiliated with the UN School), to provide courses on topics like design thinking and leadership.
Logistically, the operation seems sound. The co-founders have traveled to the locations (Buenos Aires, Chiang Mai, and Bali) and have seen each coworking space, lodging accommodation, and handpicked awesome local fun events.
YonderWork’s aspiration to provide a way for participants to gain new skills in a non-traditional manner as an alternative to high-cost university models is a bolder promise. Only time will tell if its organizers have the chops to make that happen.
Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.