One startup, WorkTripp, strives to find ways to keep hybrid and remote workers feeling connected between in-person retreats.
Future of Work
As organizations start to embrace distributed work and virtual meetings, the corporate travel and meetings sectors are preparing for change. Read Skift’s ongoing coverage of this shift in business travel behavior through the lens of both brands and consumers.
A UK-based startup has secured funding and two leading advisors to help its mission evolve how companies bring their teams together.
WorkTripp has taken on Q Hamirani, who, up until a couple of weeks ago ,was head of Airbnb’s Live & Work Anywhere program. It has hired Dora Nagy, a coaching expert who has held senior roles at Google and Softbank, as an advisor, too.
The company also raised an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding from SFC Capital at the end of March.
Now it wants to help businesses “mature” offsite meetings.
“Before, offsites were a bit more of a vanity thing, like a big showcase, whereas now it’s actually becoming part of the fabric of how we work,” said Sophie Bailey, WorkTripp CEO and co-founder.
Designing for Trust
Immediately after pandemic travel restrictions were lifted, company retreats served a purpose as many employees had never met, or at least met up in person in a long time. So they played crucial role in building company culture, especially when teams are working remotely.
But remote work practices continue to be a hot topic, with debate around the return to offices.
“Some elements of the new world of work are very short-termist, task-focused, and hyper-efficient,” said Bailey. “You’re always on, all the time, and so we need to create space for that longer-term thinking.”
“The reason why we work with Q as an advisor is he has experience in working out how large companies are evolving around new flexible ways of working,” Bailey said.
WorkTripp wants to help companies plan offsites, which are critical for teams to keep connections, but keep momentum going throughout the year. Initiatives include podcasts, accountability sessions, coaching, and even surveys that derive insights into team gaps.
“You have an offsite and a theme, then in between, we have low-friction ways of keeping that momentum going, so it’s not just considered a one-off thing,” she said.
The concept also alleviates pressures around sustainability.
Bailey thinks there’s a market for this because many companies are slimming down on offices, so there’s cash to spare.
Rather than companies investing in things like employee monitoring technology, she argues they should spend money on “designing for trust.”
“We are going to need to be very thoughtful and intentional as we plan offsites in a remote world to ensure we are being productive, promoting learning and enhancing belonging connections. WorkTripp is going to help solve all of them,” said Nagy.
Sally Page has joined as a co-founder from Blinkist, while Andy Gaies, former chief content officer at Audible, is an angel investor.
With the new team and money in place, Bailey says she’s ready to get out in front of customers.
Outsite, which is a membership-based hospitality company that focuses on remote workers, had just raised $1 million through crowdfunding. This was a strategic move to build its membership, with stakeholders more inclined to book its properties.
The strategy looks like it paid off, because CEO Emmanuel Guisset said it was looking to raise $10 million to $15 million “for the operating company and brand” and between $100 million and $200 million to buy properties in its strong markets of southern Europe and Latin America.
“We basically want to scale what we are already doing with our real estate partners such as Extendam and Keys-AM,” he said.
“I believe in the convergence of real estate and travel technology,” added Morgann Lesne, a partner at Cambon. “Nearly all the files I’m working on, there’s software, or a mix of OpCo/PropCo.”
An OpCo/PropCo (or operating company/property company) structure allows financing and credit rating-related issues for both companies to remain separate.
The Outsite work is on top of the dealmaker’s recent appointment by Middle Eastern agency Musafir to raise cash to buy smaller rivals.
The advisory also played a role in the sale of Spain-based Travel Compositor to Travelsoft.
10-Second Corporate Travel Catch-Up
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