Company Helps You Take Working Vacation
Startup called Venture with Impact lets you visit exotic places while also working.
It’s no secret a majority of Americans don’t travel internationally. And less than half of all Americans have a passport. We’re bad at taking vacations. Maybe it’s our culture, or our jobs, or both.
But a new Milwaukee based startup is working to get Americans abroad. Not as a pure vacation, though, but as an on-the-job adventure.
Venture With Impact is a local company that takes professionals and sets them up for a month in another country with a place to live and a co-working space. Professionals can travel in a group to a place like Thailand, and remotely keep up with their work back home, while also putting in 3 to 15 hours with a local non-profit or social business enterprise.
“That’s the number one thing, we are a co-working program,” says Ann Davis, founder and president of the company. “Along with the volunteering piece so that they can have a greater opportunity to get in touch with the local community and get a better understanding of the culture, that’s part of the purpose of it.”
Davis, who graduated along with her business partner Jessica Charwin from Tulane University, has a masters degree in teaching, spent time working in Teach for America and has been to dozens of countries around the globe.
Davis says friends and colleagues were often jealous of her travels, sometimes expressing exasperation with their corporate jobs. So with this in mind, the idea for Venture With Impact was born. And it was incorporated in October 2016 and launched in January 2017. And so far it’s had 42 individuals go through the program.
Venture has placed these individuals with experience in tech, marketing, finance, health and education, in such countries as Colombia, Portugal, Thailand and Peru. In each of these destinations, the Venture participants are largely doing consulting and training work as opposed to hands-on work, “So that our impact will be a little bit more sustainable in the long term,” Davis says.
The co-working “workation” service is a very new concept, she notes. But the market is potentially huge. Thus far, the average participant in venture is a woman around 30 years of age. But the company has an addressable market of more than 850,000 degree-holding Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 that travel abroad at least once a year. If this market was completely tapped, it could be a $1.3 billion market.
Davis and Charwin are looking for investors and another $50,000 to help grow their business. Right now, they’re pivoting to also offer a business-to-business service. They’d make their service available for companies to make it a perk or employee benefit.
Building partnerships with organizations in these locations abroad for Venture participants to work at has required Davis and her partner to be on the ground in many places forming relationships and getting references. When she talked to Urban Milwaukee Davis had recently returned from Malaysia, and was preparing to travel to Colombia soon. Davis says she based her company in Milwaukee because she is originally from the area — and recently was part of a startup accelerator in the city, Gener8tor’s Gbeta program.
While at a location abroad, the participants are normally working 40 hours or more. But they still have time at nights and on the weekends to explore their locations.
This Milwaukee-based business, if successful, could make it easier to travel abroad without skipping a beat at work. Something, Davis thinks, that is well worth the time and money: “That’s when I had the most personal growth and had the best experiences, from traveling.”