In the not so distant future, location will be attached to the moment, rather than physical proximity. Location will change as dynamically as where we work, how we work and where we live and why. 

In 1997 I started one of the very first free stuff-centric websites online (Free Mania) which attracted national press and grew a large following of frugal moms, couponers and cheapskates. Nearly by accident, I become a “locationless” web entrepreneur in my mid-teens which raised many questions about where to live and work. After years of chasing wifi and spending every last penny on travel, I knew I had to fuse my love for collaboration and adventure together.   

What is Startup Abroad?

[image_2_small_right]Startup Abroad was born to give purposeful entrepreneurs the ability to think, connect and build their ideas outside typical routine within the context of a group – coliving, coworking and co-creating in the same time and space.

The first Startup Abroad is taking place in Ubud, Bali this August. Ten entrepreneurs will spend 14 days in an artistic village among rice paddies with everything they need to work and play, including internet and one another.

Each founder will arrive with their startup, state their goals and report on their progress throughout the experience. And every person will teach a workshop or lead an adventure for the crew.  

How the Participants Were Chosen

The three questions that participants answered to be a part of Startup Abroad are:

  1. What are you working on?
  2. What do you need help with?
  3. How can you contribute to the group?  

I'll admit that a large portion of how the applicants were chosen was based on gut feel for how they would interact with the rest of the group, but if I had to articulate the filters, this is what they’d look like:  

  • Purposeful entrepreneur: Want to have a positive impact on the world
  • Community minded: Understand, value and welcome collaboration and contribution
  • Good hearted: Open and able to listen, respond, and give back to others
  • Highly skilled: Legendary skills and interests that will help the group

Most of the entrepreneurs are at the beginning of building their businesses. They’ve all proven that they are capable of building audiences and momentum, along with necessary skills in development, design, community building and strategy. Their businesses range from a virtual incubator, to accountability software and an alternative currency startup. You can see more details about who they are and what they are working on below.


An Experiment In Possibilities

There is no hard and fast goal for Startup Abroad. Although the intent is clear, the results are not. This hasn’t been tried before and is largely an experiment where the sum will be greater than its parts.   

Regardless, I’m confident that this experience will have a positive ripple effect personally and professionally for all of the participants. That's because I’ve directly experienced the benefits of coworking and coliving – coworking at NextSpace and living at the Glint in San Francisco. I shared my enthusiasm on living with entrepreneurs in this article about coliving. As I stated there, I believe that if you put the right people together it has the potential to be very, very, very powerful.

My personal goal is for each person to walk away feeling supercharged with their mission and be aligned on their path with the support of each other and the knowledge that the world is small and highly connected.

The group will also be challenged to think about and discuss how we want to design the future of work. When more homes are swapped or shared, possessions carry less meaning and the majority of Americans can work from anywhere. What does that scenario look like and how do we build a community for that?

The Inaugural Startup Abroad Crew

Kate Kendall

Community builder, entrepreneur    

Drew Meyers
Oh Hey World
Travel expert, marketing strategist, entrepreneur    

Scott McLeod

Startup Collective
Designer, painter, digital strategist

Jonathan Yankovich

Objectivli, Last 5
Accountability and goals, developer 

Josh Schwartzman
Remote startup incubation, developer   

Chelsea Rustrum
It's a Shareable Life
Sharing economy, entrepreneur   

Jonathan Kresner

Adventure enthusiast, developer 

Mat Holroyd

Alternative currency, developer  

Joe Mellin

Remote startup incubation, developer

And there’s space for one more! For this last spot, I’m looking for an artistic type, such as a photographer or filmmaker who can document the group's progress and tell the story of Startup Abroad to everyone who can’t be there. Having said that, I’m open to receiving applications from anyone.   

If you’d like to apply, please sign up on Startup Abroad and shoot me an email with answers to the three questions above.   

Do you have any ideas for us?  
Have you done destination coworking, mixed travel and work, or been in a group that bonded well together? I’d love to hear your thoughts for what the group could do together while in Ubud to make the experience even richer.

Chelsea Rustrum


Chelsea Rustrum | |

Chelsea Rustrum is the co-author of It's a Shareable Life, a practical guide to the sharing economy, as well as a consultant, speaker, connector, and practitioner. She both lives and

Things I share: Home, car, clothes, rides, information and more.