Dónde raises $3.3 million seed round led by Kickstart Fund
Salt Lake City — Dónde, a platform for better time off, announced that the company raised a $3.3 million seed round led by Kickstart Fund and joined by Next Frontier Capital, Jeremy Andrus, Aaron Skonnard, and others. Since launching its product in March 2021, Dónde has brought on 31 customers including Traeger Grills, Lendio, Lucidpress, and Homie. They use Dónde’s platform to fund travel savings accounts and grant access to a travel marketplace for employees to book epic vacations. The seed funding will enable Dónde to introduce its platform to the wider market, where countless employers need better ways to attract, retain, and recharge employees amidst mass burnout and record-high resignations.
Dónde began as an idea in 2017 when now-CEO Rilee Buttars was developing a travel startup providing experiences far off the beaten track. Although people loved her concept, they were chronically unable to travel because they couldn’t afford it and couldn’t take paid time off (PTO)—a pervasive issue in the U.S. In 2019 over 768 million PTO days were left unused by the American workforce.
Unused PTO has consequences: on measures of physical health and wellbeing, the USTA found a 22 percent gap between mega-travelers (61 percent) and homebodies (39 percent). No wonder the USTA calculated that workers who use all of their vacation time have a 6.5 percent higher chance of receiving a promotion compared to those who leave days of PTO on the table. Good vacations can make people more positive and engaged, which translates to higher productivity and creativity.
“Existing solutions to employee burnout assume that problems stem from the work experience itself and miss the bigger picture,” says Buttars. “The hustle culture to stay plugged in and continually push harder without rest and vacation is taking a toll. We all need a break, and a better time off could mean better time on. The key for Dónde is to address the tortured work culture where PTO is considered unusable.”
Buttars pivoted to building a platform that would reduce barriers to effective PTO and create cultures that encourage employees to enjoy the numerous benefits of travel. Named Dónde (Spanish for “where”), the company launched in January 2020 with Buttars as CEO and three co-founders: Tom Compagno, Tommy Currit, and Josh Cameron. The Covid pandemic soon rattled the travel industry, but demand for leisure travel and the need for PTO both intensified. Dónde’s innovative approach to work culture taps into the passion for travel among all demographics, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers.
“Dónde has captured the market with an innovative approach at a crucial time, and will continue to stick in a world of remote/hybrid work and increase the onus on employers to curate a positive work culture,” says Serene Papenfuss, principal at Kickstart Fund.
By late 2020, Dónde had raised $1.5 million pre-seed from angel investors to build its platform. Today, Dónde provides a comprehensive solution for time off.
“At Lendio, we create memorable experiences for our employees through Donde, ” says Mark Santiago, Chief of Staff. “They love it, and it helps our team attract, retain, and recharge the talent we need to succeed and grow.”
Dónde is available to employers throughout the U.S. To learn more, visit www.godonde.com.
A: About Dónde
Dónde is the time-off platform that reignites company culture by turning employers into the champions of unforgettable vacations, unplugged time, and work-life balance. Dónde helps organizations attract and retain top talent with travel savings accounts, proprietary travel booking technology, and tools to reward and bonus employees with experiences. Based in Salt Lake City, Dónde serves well-known companies including Traeger Grills, Lendio, Lucidpress, and Homie. Learn more at www.godonde.com.