brown wooden dock on Lake Tahoe during the daytime

Startup Wander Gets Funding to Make Remote Work More Scenic

November 16, 2021 Employee Experience
Ben Schwartz
By Ben Schwartz LinkedIn

Ever wonder what it would be like to tackle tasks in Lake Tahoe or work from wine country in California? Wander.com, an app that connects users to a network of smart homes, raised $7 million in initial funding in November to make remote work a bit more luxurious — for those who can afford it.

Wander’s app allows users to book a stay in one of the company’s selection of smart homes, where it said they are able to control every aspect of the experience from their smartphones. The homes are all owned by Wander and located in what it calls “inspiring locations."

Wander allows users to search destinations and book a trip via the app. They can then access home automation technology from their smartphone to unlock doors, turn on the fireplace, adjust lighting and access the Tesla vehicle in the garage, something every Wander home comes equipped with.

The company said the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting changes to work are behind its mission to provide people with smartphone-delivered technology that allows them to live and work wherever they want.

"This is the first time in human history where many can live and work anywhere. Yet when we try to escape, we end up crouched over a coffee table, in a house that doesn't look like the photos, with Wi-Fi that barely works," said Wander CEO and founder John Andrew Entwistle in a press release statement. "We believe when you control the bits and the atoms, you have the ability to iterate towards perfection and an opportunity to build a lasting company."

A number of tech startups have received funding to make remote work more accessible in the past year, albeit not in the same high-end category as Wander. Firstbase, a startup with offices in New York and Scotland, brought in $15 million in May 2021 to help organizations set up employees to work remotely. HR software maker Hibob snapped up AI startup Cassiopeia in June to analyze collaboration and communication in remote and hybrid work.

Wander, founded in 2021 and based out of Austin, Texas, will use its recent funding to set up "thousands" of smart homes globally. The funding comes largely from Redpoint Ventures.

"Since the onset of the pandemic we've seen one of the greatest shifts ever in how people live and work, but the physical world hasn't caught up yet,” said Alex Bard, managing director at Redpoint Ventures in a statement. “It's in these shifts that transformational companies are born."

Currently, Wander is taking reservations to join its member waitlist for $100. That money will apply as a credit to member's first stay, and will also give them the opportunity to invest in the company's next funding round, the company said.

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