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“Airbnb for Digital Nomads” Begins Pre-Seed Investments

(Noted News) — Serial entrepreneur Alicia Navarro has launched her next venture, Flown, which aims to connect digitally-based workers with ergonomic, distraction-free properties to conduct “deep work.” 

“Deep work” is a term popularized by Cal Newport’s book Deep Work, which is defined as the “ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task,” and a skill that “allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.”

Flown will be broken up into two different platforms: Flown Away, and Flown Here. 

Flown Away’s catalog of properties will be a “highly curated list of homes, hotels and retreat spaces that are fully equipped for distraction-free, ergonomic, and productive remote working, from a cabin in the woods equipped with a large screen monitor, to a countryside cottage equipped with a whiteboard and display screen.” 

Flown Here doesn’t provide physical properties, but rather digital resources to help workers create more effective deep work rituals and strategies. These resources will include virtual accountability groups and challenges to shift perception and attitudes.

Flown’s conception comes following Navarro’s successful launch of Skimlinks, a content monetization platform that currently does $2.5 million in sales daily. 

“After leaving Skimlinks, I thought I’d have tons of time to write, think, and ideate. Unfortunately, it was impossible to find spaces to do this: co-working spaces were too distracting, cafes weren’t ergonomic, and I needed a break from working from home. Plus, not being part of a team any longer meant I was often lonely, and struggled to get into the right mental space for thinking creatively or productively.”

Navarro, based in London, began traveling across Europe to see if she could find a better state of deep work outside the chaotic Big Smoke, but struggled to find the right environment for optimal productivity; something remote and out of the way, but still well equipped with good Wi-Fi and other useful features. 

It was then that she conceived the idea of Flown, and has built it to attract freelancers, remote teams, academics, or knowledge workers who are struggling to find the right environment to get things done. Navarro said that the coronavirus crisis has only accelerated the necessity for Flown. 

“COVID-19 has only made the need for Flown even greater. People working from home sometimes need to escape to find inspiration and fewer distractions. Companies shifting to remote work still need places for their team to regularly collaborate or bond. And never before has our economy been more open-minded and experimental with new ways of working and supporting the needs of their employees.”

Navarro has raised an impressive pre-seed investment team, boasting both diversity and clout. Over one-third of pre-seed investment capital has so far come from female investors, and contains well-known entrepreneurs and angel investors, such as Greg Marsh (OneFineStay), James Meekings (Funding Circle), Pete Cashmore (Mashable), and Taavet Hinrikus (Transferwise). 

“I recognized that Flown has the potential to be a real driving force for the way we work, and for how the hospitality industry can adapt to become more resilient and diversified by accommodating knowledge workers, not just holiday-makers,” Hinrikus said. 

Flown has raised more than $1.5 million in pre-seed investments so far, which will primarily be used for building out the platform, onboarding new properties, and hiring more team members, which currently includes acquisitions from companies like Ometria, Quill, Resi, McKinsey’s Generation, and hotel conglomerate Mr & Mrs Smith. 

Flown’s benefit to property owners will be the ability to rent out their locations during periods where typical vacationing is not common, such as mid-week or their area’s offseason. This is supposed to supplement their revenues from the leisure travel market and also access a more constant stream of demand from remote workers.

The company, hailed as the “Airbnb-meets-Calm”, is set to launch first in the UK and Portugal, before testing waters elsewhere. To entice early adoption, Flown is offering a £200 credit for anyone who joins the member waitlist or nominates a property. 

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