Digital nomads: Looking for help to travel 3-12 months? Try 312 Society

By Doreen Hemlock

After her job in Seattle went remote, Rachel Azaroff decided to leisurely drive cross-country and city-hop on the U.S. East Coast to find a new home base. She spent countless hours on research: looking for places to stay, eat and visit; reading specialized blogs and websites; finding companies to help with storage and needed services; and also, asking friends and contacts for tips.

Now, based in Miami, Azaroff is building an online platform to centralize that information and create a community for fellow remote workers and others seeking to live three to 12 months away from home – a venture she calls “312 Society.” She is developing not only blogs and chats, but also a marketplace where travelers can sell itineraries and other content, and where companies can offer such services as booking for campsites.

“A lot of people are interested in being more nomadic, but it gets too overwhelming, so they stop the process,” she says. Her aim: to tackle issues from visas to insurance, e-scooter rentals to pets, plus link folks with shared interests “to make extended travel dreams come true.”

Rachel Azaroff

The 37-year-old Azaroff has skills to complement her passion. Besides an MBA and bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English, she has more than 15 years of experience in tech, including work at two companies that went public: tax compliance platform Avalara and IT management software Apptio. She plan to feature tech on her platform that will survey users on their interests – say, three months exploring southeast Asia – and then, match each user with resources for their journey.

The platform taps a growing market for what some call “mid-term travel,” neither weekend or two-week trips nor long-term relocations. The market includes millions who work remote spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also includes folks giving greater priority to health and opting to work independently, take sabbaticals or choose more flexible schedules. Plus, it spans empty-nesters and retirees who also are less tethered, because they can stay connected with loved ones through tech like free video-chats.

Azaroff launched the pilot version of 312 Society’s platform in June 2021, mainly using her own funds. She’s now raising a $1 million pre-seed round. She expects the venture to earn revenue both from sales by partners on the platform and from subscriptions, slated to launch later this year.

She’s especially keen on employers of remote-first workers offering subscriptions as a company perk: “That benefits the employer, because 312 Society offers significant time savings for employees who want to take advantage of working from anywhere. And living their bucket list away from home increases worker happiness and reduces burnout.”

So far, more than 300 people have signed up for the 312 Society, mainly women ages 25 to 45 with remote jobs, but others too. Dylan Rhoads, a 47-year-old employed by a Japanese tech company, recently consulted with 312 Society’s concierge service to plan for possibly do his job from Spain or Portugal. He majored in Japanese and computer science in college, lived in Japan and loves how living overseas broadens your perspective on cultures. Says Rhoads: “I want to explore the ability to work from anyplace I like.”

Companies already partnering with 312 Society include Shyft, which provides moving and storage services; Trusted Housesitters for home- and pet-sitting services; Beyond for electric scooter and bike rentals; and Campspot for booking campsites in North America.

Azaroff hadn’t expected to make Miami her base. Yet she found the city met all her criteria: access to nature, smart and engaging people; diversity; good healthcare, art and museums; a major airport; a vibrant Jewish community and proximity to family on the U.S. east coast.

In Miami, she took part in the fall 2021 cohort of Babson College’s Women Innovating Now (WIN) Growth Lab, learning tools to scale up her venture and meeting mentors and peers. Now, besides building her business, she’s starting to plan her next three-month trip – a summer journey to the U.S. west coast and possibly to Banff National Park in Canada.

Doreen Hemlock