Announcing Our $1.5 Million Seed Round To Bring Teams Together
Not all startup stories start with a road trip followed by a global pandemic, but this one does.
By Emma Guo, March 15, 2021
2 years ago, I took a long weekend road trip from San Francisco to Sedona. While gazing out the car window, I was stressed about planning a badass team offsite for the following week. Our team had just worked really hard on a big product launch — we deserved to celebrate. We had already done a few escape rooms, a woodworking workshop, and even a sushi making class. As an engineer-turned-engineering manager, I always loved going to these team events, but finding new offsite ideas and actually booking them was a real pain, every single time. It was pretty surprising that there was no online marketplace, no one-stop-shop, where teams could explore, compare and book these events. Several months and more offsites later, our company, now known as Offsyte, was born.
Then, a global pandemic hit. Teams all over the world began working from home. At this point, I had teamed up with Jon (my colleague and good friend from Lyft, who also loves offsites and marketplaces). We quickly pivoted to focus on virtual team events because it was clear that in-person events wouldn’t be back for a long time.
In the summer of 2020, we officially launched Offsyte: a marketplace for discovering and booking high-quality team events. Whether it’s a virtual cooking class that ships ingredients to everyone before the event, or an online escape room, we have it all. In addition to discovery and booking, our platform simplifies the coordination required for sending kits to all of the participants - a new pain point created by virtual events.
Within weeks it became very apparent that there was indeed a real need for such a marketplace. In addition to seeing bookings from different companies and leaders, the number of 5-star reviews we received for Offsyte events was overwhelming. People wrote in to tell us that their team had a great time and that they had been looking for something like Offsyte forever. We also received lots of emails with feature requests, bug reports, and new event ideas — all of which have been instrumental in shaping our platform.
By the end of the year, with $0 spent on marketing, we had hosted more than 10,000 people from over 150 different organizations ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 500s, non-profits, and universities. Thousands of cooking kits, mixology kits, game kits, and fitness kits had been shipped to teams located all over the world.
We also helped our vendors transition to the virtual world to not only keep their doors open, but grow their online businesses, in spite of the pandemic. Some of them have doubled their staff, and some have more business now than ever before. Throughout our journey, we have become close partners with all of these small business owners - they are resilient, inspiring, and really, really good at what they do.
Today, we are thrilled to announce our $1.5M seed round to further our mission of bringing teams together. I am so excited to write the next chapter of Offsyte together with my co-founder Jon and an incredible group of investors and marketplace experts, including:
- Andrew Chen
- Better Tomorrow Ventures (Sheel Mohnot and Jake Gibson)
- Lenny Rachitsky (Lenny’s Newsletter, prev. Growth at Airbnb)
- Holly Liu (Co-founder of Kabam, prev. Visiting Partner at YC)
- Hyphen Capital, including:
- Steve Chen (Co-founder of YouTube)
- Mike Lee and Albert Lee (Founders of MyFitnessPal)
- Mike Li (Co-founder of Kabam)
- George Ruan (Founder and CEO of Honey)
- Kun Gao (Co-founder of Crunchyroll)
- Claire Vo (Chief Product Officer at Color)
- Faye Iosotaluno (Chief Strategy Officer at Match Group)
- and more
- Chris Nakutis Taylor (Founding Partner at Nomad Ventures)
- Eric Wu (Co-founder & CEO of Opendoor)
- and more
(Safely celebrating together online during COVID)
We invite you to try an Offsyte event with your team and experience what hundreds of other teams have already enjoyed. Check out some amazing ideas here.
Last but not least, we are now hiring for operations, marketing and engineering. If you love team offsites and the challenges of scaling a marketplace, come join us! 👋
P.S. I’d love to tell you about how we raised our seed round within a month, entirely virtually. But we have a roadmap to tackle and I’ve already spent too much time writing this announcement. Next time!
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