Unbound to join Babson WIN Lab’s 4th Miami Cohort
Over the past few months, you’ve heard some chatter from us about pitch competitions, accelerator applications, and beta launches – we’ve been busy! After months of hard work, we’re thrilled to announce that after a rigorous interview, pitch and demo process, Unbound was selected as one of nineteen companies participating in the WIN Lab Venture Accelerator’s 4th cohort here in Miami.
The WIN Lab Accelerator
The Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab, created by Babson College’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL), is a rigorous business incubator with an inspiring community of women entrepreneurs. By joining WIN Lab, we join a vast ecosystem of mentors and peers who will help us test our business and propel us into our next stage of growth.
We are excited about our future – so we want to share with you how our past led us to this present, a bit about our history and founders, why this step is right for Unbound, and how it will help us to help you travel deeper.
The Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab, created by Babson College’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL), is a rigorous business incubator with an inspiring community of women entrepreneurs.
Unbound’s Journey to WIN Lab
Two of our founders, Jess Primavera (CEO) and I – Marina Ganopolsky (COO), will be taking Unbound through the WIN Lab experience. Jess and Michael Dere (our CTO and third cofounder) launched Unbound in 2018. Jess and I met in the Spring of 2019 at a travel conference (no, really) and we both immediately knew we were destined to be great friends. Jess was a kindred spirit. It felt like fate.
Jess Primavera, CEO, and Marina Ganopolsky, COO of UNBOUND
Jess explained the startup she was building with Michael – and I immediately fell in love. Unbound was building what I’ve always wanted but could never find – a marketplace connecting purpose-driven, socially conscious travelers with travel hosts organizing meaningful, culturally immersive experiences. Over the next few weeks I met Michael, and I was all in on joining.
Unbound was building what I’ve always wanted but could never find…
A Female Led Travel Startup
We started building Unbound to provide hosts with a suite of travel management tools – a platform that will allow them to scale their business. As we continued to expand our network of travel hosts, what became painfully obvious to us was that the experiential travel space is currently dominated by women!
We’re a business led by women, supporting women leading other women. As I am based in Miami, I immediately thought of WIN Lab and their enthusiastic support of women entrepreneurs. So we started the application process. We felt it was another perfect match.
The experiential travel space is currently dominated by women
In “Moment of Lift,” Melinda Gates says about empowering women, “you never meet a great friend, you recognize her.” Jess recently described the start of our friendship this way. And in yet another fateful encounter, only a few short months after I joined Unbound, an old friend from college reached out asking what I’ve been working on. I had that feeling again.
Jade Liou, now our Chief Strategy Officer, helped us navigate the rigorous WIN Lab application process. Leveraging significant expertise with business plans, pitch decks, financial projections, and anything strategy, Jade gave the final push to catapult Unbound into WIN Lab.
“You never meet a great friend, you recognize her” -Melinda Gates, Moment of Lift
(A fun fact about Unbound is that we’re almost completely remote. We embrace flexibility and remote work because we live it. The entire C-suite spans the country – I’m a Miami local, Jess is in Seattle, Michael is in Virginia, and Jade’s in NYC. Unbound is able to exist and thrive with the communications and management tools available now – 10 years ago this would not have been possible for us.)
The WIN Lab Application Process
The WIN Lab application process was intense, requiring many iterations of pitch decks, presentations, essays, and interviews. Since I’m in Miami, I was on the front lines of the actual presentations and interviews, and Jess joined remotely for much of it. We really appreciated WIN Lab’s flexibility in allowing us to do that – there are so many organizations paying lip service to being flexible with their arrangements, but how many follow through when push comes to shove? WIN Lab walks the walk and talks the talk.
So when we presented our business plan of supporting women-led businesses and encouraging other women to join us, there was immediate understanding between our organizations. WIN Lab is here to help women build and grow their businesses, and so is Unbound.
We here at Unbound are excited about this next leg of our journey and invite you to join our adventure!
Until next time – happy traveling!