That’s assuming the company can make it through what looks to be a long economic downturn.
We will say the startup’s pitch is persuasive. Here’s what we know right now, based on an interview earlier today with the company’s gregarious CEO Healey Cypher. The company was born during the pandemic; Cypher, who is also the COO of the startup studio Atomic, was intent on keeping his colleagues’ morale up and began devising increasingly creative ways to do it, including through virtual Napa Valley wine-tastings, magic shows, customized games and the like. Along the way, it occurred to Cypher and his Atomic colleagues that there could be a business in creating a curated marketplace of virtual experiences, and he says that by the end of last, beginning with an email blast to 150 contacts, that business had nearly 2,500 customers who were letting BoomPop plan their virtual team-building exercises.
Fast forward to today, and the viability of the business is no longer a question mark, says Cypher. Some of its customers have already paid BoomPop to organize “60 to 70” mini meetups for them – both virtual and offline. In fact, he says the company has been so focused on creating a vibrant marketplace of places to go and things to do that it now features “thousands of hotel options, meeting spaces, activities, photographers who can create sizzle reels of these events and swag” to give to participants as they head back home.
It also handles the invitations, creates event pages with agenda, tracks schedule and budget changes and handles payments. (It creates an escrow account for every event that shuts off when it’s over.) In short, it’s a lot of mini-businesses in one, and it has all been built from the ground up, says Cypher, who claims that so far, 4,000 companies have made arrangements for 150,000 of their employees at an average price of $65,000 per event.
Most of those customers — 73%, says Cypher — have never planned or hosted an off-site before.
All pay a flat fee that BoomPop guarantees that is “at least 10% to 20% off the best rates you can buy,” says Cypher.
The numbers would seem to validate Cypher’s theory that as companies shrink their physical footprint and the associates costs of outfitting those offices, there’s a lot of “new, shiny, found money” that is being spent on extending runway but also on maintain social cohesion, which is ultimately what makes most jobs sticky and their employees loyal.
BoomPop itself quietly raised a previously unannounced round of $14 million back in February from ACME Capital and Atomic, along with Box founder and CEO Aaron Levie. (Levie apparently understands the pain point BoomPop is solving.)
There are also those headwinds. While a recession could certainly crush a business like BoomPop depending on its severity and length, there’s little question that in the future, companies will need to do more — and should have more free capital to spend — to keep far-flung employees happy and engaged and focused on teamwork.
From left to right, BoomPop’s cofounders (dressed ironically in suits — we’re told they do not actually wear suits): Vaibhav Chauhan (revenue/operations); Healey Cypher (CEO); and Blake Hudelson (product/design). Not pictured: Atomic CEO Jack Abraham.
BoomPop gains traction by designing high-end off-sites for our now remote-first world by Connie Loizos originally published on TechCrunch