Last summer, Michael Cronin, co-founder and CEO of Remote Way, was working remotely out of Caffeine Dreams in Omaha when he noticed multiple talented individuals around him doing the same thing.
“I was meeting people every day that had backgrounds in tech who were also working out of coffee shops, and my team and I saw a massive opportunity,” said Cronin. “We wanted to provide people with an opportunity to travel the world while working remotely.”
How Remote Way works
Omaha-based Remote Way works by providing travel, housing, coworking space and group activities to a group of 75 people traveling to 10 destinations within 10 months. The destinations include countries like Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Thailand and Indonesia, and is open to a wide range of people from small freelancers to employees of Fortune 500 firms.
Once accepted into the program, participants pay a flat fee of $2,000 per month to participate in the program. There is also a $5,000 deposit required for all participants.
Cronin said that the startup has already received over 2,000 applications; however, the deadline to submit an application for the first trip, that commences in the summer of 2017, is open until February 1, 2017.
Not just for freelancers
One of the most interesting things about Remote Way is that the organization is accepting applicants from many different backgrounds. Cronin said that the most common applicants so far include software developers, project managers, designers, salespeople and accountants.
Cronin said that he and the team are excited because of the general interest from individuals as well as other businesses, proving that there is a desire to embrace the combination of remote working and traveling.
“We’ve had hundreds of interviews with interested applicants, but one of the most exciting things for Remote Way is the interest we are getting from other companies,” said Cronin. “We’ve spoken with big consulting firms who are working with us to set up this program with their employees as well.”
What a good fit looks like
When asked about what makes a strong applicant, Cronin said that they look for a few concrete traits in an applicant’s personality.
“I think the first quality we’re looking for is someone that says ‘yes’ to all the opportunities that this program provides,” said Cronin. “For example, when we set up a group activity like surfing lessons, the person we’re looking for is the one who is excited to try something new and embraces all the adventures that traveling the world has to offer.”
Cronin added that the team also looks for a disciplined work history from all participants, and the ability to be on a strict schedule, work hard, and take full advantage of what is available.
When asked about trends in the applicants that have already been screened, Cronin said that most of the applicants are between the ages of 25 to 35, and are from diverse backgrounds.
“We are keeping our ratio half male and half female, most of the applicants are single, but we do have some couples that have applied,” said Cronin. “Everyone we’ve interviewed has a really interesting story and background.”
Different from the competition
While the idea behind Remote Way is not necessarily new, Cronin said that one of the main differences between Remote Way and its competition is that the trip is not meant to be a big party.
“We are familiar with other founders that have a similar concept, and we love what they’ve started with their programs, but we just think there is a lot of opportunity to change how it’s done,” said Cronin. “We want to make it less about parties, and more about group activities, and really engaging with the place you’re in.”
Building an app
The team behind Remote Way started collaborating a few years ago on an app called SnapSave. The business was acquired by Groupon in 2014, and was re-released as Snap by Groupon, an app that pays you to shop.
After their success with SnapSave, the team started working on the app for Remote Way. Currently under development, Cronin said that the first iteration of the Remote Way app will allow participants to keep track of all their traveling information in one location.
“The main goal behind the app is to have everything in one place for participants of the program,” said Cronin. “Everything from boarding passes to their insurance information, and all the information about the activities and booking will all be in one centralized place.”
Cronin explained that in the future the team wants the app to be a place where any remote worker can get easier access to traveling information in order to make their goals a reality.
“We also see a big opportunity to serve other remote workers,” said Cronin. “There are tens of thousands of people who are already doing this, but there’s not a lot of support for financial services or other traveling logistics.”
The team hopes to launch the first iteration of the app in March of this year.
If you are interested in applying for this year’s Remote Way trip, you can fill out an application here. If you have any other questions concerning the program, you can email Michael Cronin directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mel Lucks is a regional freelance journalist and former intern for Silicon Prairie News and AIM.