Have you ever found yourself in a meeting but wishing you were some place else?
Perhaps you'd rather be tubing down the Delaware River, zip lining in the Berkshire Mountains or just getting in a round of clay shooting followed with a few beers. Maia Josebachvili's Urban Escapes offers those options and more for young professionals in their twenties and thirties.
Josebachvili has a passion for skydiving but when she was an undergrad at Dartmouth she couldn’t afford it. So she recruited all her friends and acquaintances to go along with her and she was able to skydive for free. After graduation she continued to coordinate skydiving and other outdoor trips even while working as a derivatives trader on Wall Street at Susquehanna International. In 2008, Josebachvili decided to take the plunge and create Urban Escapes, offering a varied assortment of outdoor escapes such as hiking and hang gliding. In the company's first year, it brought about 500 people on trips.
Trips range in price from as little as $59 for rock climbing, burgers, and beers, to as much as $2,000 for a one-week getaway to Costa Rica. The most popular day trips costs around $100. The company is also beginning to offer more evening getaways.
Bram Levy, 30, joined the company a few months later as a co-owner. His job was to devise the company's growth strategy — or, as he likes to call it, the "world domination" plan. So far, there are offices in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., with plans to add operations in San Francisco, Austin, and Chicago in the near term. “We like expanding and we think we have a good product that sticks,” Josebachvili says . “So wherever we seen an opportunity for it, we’ll try it.”
By the end of the year, some 12,000 people will have taken part in Urban Escapes trips. Employees of Crunch Gym have gone on ski and surfing trips, Googlers have taken to the shooting range, and CPAs from Pricewaterhouse Coopers have played paintball. But at the heart of the business is its founder's desire to feel her adrenaline rush. Deciding on which trips to offer is a “combination what every one else says they want to do," Josebachvili says, "and of things we’ve been wanting to try."