This Startup Promises to Let You Work Remotely Across 12 Cities in 12 Months
The first trip starts in January 2017 and will take participants to Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Morocco, Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, Serbia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Founders Nathan Yates (left) and Sean Harvey (right) © WeRoam
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Traveling around the world for a year, working in a different city every month. Sounds enticing, doesn't it?

One startup claims to offer just that. US-based WeRoam promises to organise your travel, accommodation and workspace for 12 different locations.

 

These are Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Morocco, Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, Serbia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. WeRoam promises "immersion in local culture" during the trips.

It almost sounds too good to be true. And there are, of course, quite a few conditions.

Firstly, you need to stump up $27,000 (£20,600) to pay for the year. Secondly, you must be a remote worker already. You also need to pass an "intense" three-stage application process, according to founders Nathan Yates and Sean Harvey.

"At this time in history, with the 'on demand economy' there's an opportunity here for people who are career-minded professionals yet ambitious to travel: digital nomads, freelancers, basically," says Yates.

 

Exclusivity 

He admits it is a niche opportunity. It's aimed at city-dwelling (and of course wealthy) 25-35 year olds. It clearly is not something most can aspire to.

Yates argues it will become more common as people increasingly embrace a shift to remote working.

He insists the candidates who apply are from a wide variety of backgrounds, but he does admit "we are fighting to break some of the exclusivity. People say remote workers are lucky, but actually it's a huge movement in lots of industries".

He names some of the professions it is attracting: lawyers, finance workers, entrepreneurs, those working in ecommerce and digital industries. So far, so niche.

However he claims the programme will take participants out of the Silicon Valley and US bubble, giving them a real sense of the local business culture via the local workspaces they are using.

"We don't have any WeWork office buildings. They are almost all locally owned and run. We're trying to immerse them in the local culture and also help local businesses," Yates says.

 

The race for perks

In future, rather than seeking individuals to apply for the programme, WeRoam is hoping to sell itself as one of the many perks tech companies use to attract and retain highly-skilled staff.

"We've had a number of small, early-stage tech companies get in touch. It's hard to compete with Google on money so they have to think of other ways to attract talent. They all have cool offices, so it's hard to differentiate," Harvey says.

"We've also had a fair bit of interest from more established companies, there's a lot more bureaucracy with that of course," he adds.

It has already signed up Airbnb management services company Hostmaker as an official corporate partner, and will be taking some of the company's employees on its first trip. Groupon and American Express are two larger firms who have also expressed an interest.

"We see corporate partnerships as the future. A lot of good PR and goodwill can be obtained with this. A ping pong table is not necessarily enough anymore.

"Companies are basically starting to integrate us into their HR. There are a lot of people who'd love to go on these trips," Harvey says.

WeRoam launched in February 2016 and plans for participants to start their first trip in January 2017, with the second trip launching in July 2017.

 

By Charlotte Jee 

Jane Gonzalez
Associate Editor