⛺️ Business Retreats as a Service

the who, what, where and why you should know about them

Hey Founders,

☕️ Welcome back to our Friday newsletter: the spot to get an extra dose of startup inspo when your morning coffee isn’t cuttin’ it ☕️

📰 Latest news: the Succession TV Show wrapped. Nvidia joined the $1T valuation club. The founder of Theranos is behind bars. Ron DeSantis and Elon broke Twitter Spaces. VCs are still surfing the AI wave. It’s the first Friday of June. You booked a July cottage weekend with your pals. And you’re starving for startup ideas.

We don’t blame ya, drop your glass of Sangria and let’s dig in👇

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🍽 Today's Menu:

  • ⛺️ The Business of Founder Retreats

  • ✏️ GTM napkin plan on how to set one up

  • 💰 Who else is playing in the space?

  • 🐦 Founder Tweet of the week

⛺️ The Business of Founder Retreats

It’s June:

  • the weather’s getting warmer

  • the ice coffees are getting sweeter

  • and your iPhone’s list of startup ideas is getting hotter

The big idea I wanna riff on today: “founder retreats”

Questions we’ll dig into today:

  1. 👀 Who’s hosting these retreats?

  2. 💸 Top industries that’d pay for them?

  3. 🤷‍♀️ And what’s the quickest way to spin up an MVP?

*If any of you are between startups or want a side hustle to spin up with a friend, today’s roadmap will give you all the goods.

Let’s face the facts. 99% of North Americans have some nostalgic relationship with camp. Why not capitalize on that?

Niching Down the Founder Retreat Idea

  • 🎯 Industry Focus: instead of targeting just founders broadly, you could narrow down the focus to areas like SaaS, e-commerce or even blockchain startups in NYC. This would create a more targeted approach to foster community in that subset.

  • 📈 Stage of Startups: we all know having a startup idea vs raising a Series A is a different ball game. If you could host retreats that put unique people with similar challenges in the same room, convos would be powerful.

  • 🗺 Regional Camp Focus: tired of flying around the world? Imagine if you only had to drive 2 hours to a beautiful weekend away to work on your startup idea.

Hot and Cold Retreat Experiences

  • 🔥 Summit Series: the “Burning Man meets Davos” event for founders

  • 👎 Fyre Festival: we all know how that one ended…

  • 🔥 Sun Valley Billionaire Camp: invite-only retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho.

  • 👎 YPO Conferences: too old and outdated; needs disruption

  •  🔥 TED: if their $10K tickets are still selling out they’re doing something right

  • 👎 local conferences with booths where you know everyone there

  •  🔥 Camp MFM: brought together Mr. Beast and other cool builders for dinners, basketball games and podcast recordings

These ideas are also catching eyeballs on Kernal…

*Got a startup idea for the retreat world? Drop it below.

High Paying Roles to Build a Retreat For:

  1. Doctors/Dentists

  2. Lawyers

  3. Land Developers

  4. ESG / Social Impact Funds

  5. Family Offices/VCs/PE

  6. Consulting/Accounting

  7. Architects/Engineers

  8. Investment Bankers

  9. B/C List Celebrities

  10. Creators/micro-influencers

Monetization Strategies for the Idea:

  1. 💸 Retreat Fees: typical playbook is to charge a flat fee for attending the annual retreat, which covers accommodation, meals, activities, and access to the curated community.

  2. 💸 Premium Upgrades: offer premium packages with additional perks, such as one-on-one coaching sessions, exclusive access to guest speakers, or extended networking opportunities.

  3. 💸 Corporate Sponsorships: Collaborate with established companies and seek sponsorship for the retreats in exchange for exposure and access to the talented pool of founders attending the camp.

  4. 💸 Alumni Network: Create a membership-based alumni network where founders can access ongoing support, resources, and monthly touch points for a subscription fee.

  5. 💡 Smart Timing: pick the lowest travel season of the year for the cheapest flights, hotels and accommodations

  6. 💡 Clever Locations: get free or very cheap hospitality by pairing your camp experience with a high PR opportunity for an up-and-coming location that’s craving exposure.

  7. 💡 Curate Post Event Meetups: imagine you could reconnect 1/mo with your top 10 friends you made with a pro facilitator. Another revenue idea there.

Signals to Show This is Worth Your Time

  • 🏔 Big Player in the Market: Reed Hastings, the co-founder of Netflix, just became co-owner of Powder Mountain, a ski resort in Utah founded by Elliot Bisnow that’s connected to Summit Series. There are bound to be some future community initiatives coming out of that location.

  • 📈 How big’s the pie? The Global Wellness Institute estimated the wellness tourism market, which includes wellness retreats, to be worth over $639 billion in 2017 and projected it to grow by an average of 7.5% annually

  • 💰 Partner with a boring land developer/hotel chain: Plenty of land developers and hotels are trying to come up with innovative branding plays to attract guests. Pitch your idea to them and make them a partner.

Quick MVP Ideas:

  1. 📝 Virtual Retreat: most virtual events suck. Get creative, think outside the box and pack a punch by hosting a virtual retreat over a weekend. Get a killer guest speaker, host engaging Q+A’s and poll attendees to test the concept's viability.

  2. 📝 Local Meetups: organize smaller, local meetups for founders in your area, focusing on building connections and sharing insights. This helps validate the demand for a larger-scale summer camp while providing a low-cost MVP opportunity.

  3.  📝 Collaborate with Existing Companies/Retreats: too tired to build your own? Team up with a company that’d love to put their money behind a retreat. It’s a low-hanging fruit opportunity that doesn’t put your name on the line as much as there’s. And you get to leverage their brand infrastructure and audience to test your idea.

Like today’s deep dive? Run with it.

Got a better startup idea for the readers? Share it here.

📩 Other Gems To Keep You Riffing:

🐦 Tweet of the Week

Have an awesome weekend

💚 The Kernal Fam

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