Last September, together with a good friend, we organized the first edition of the European Venture Retreat.
It was a crazy experiment, that we organized on a whim. And we had an amazing time.
You can see the video of the event here:
and some select pictures here:
(You can see the full album on Facebook)
We had people come from almost ALL of Europe, including Malta, Romania, Finland, Spain, Switzerland and so on, representing a lot of top EU funds and many crypto organizations like Placeholder and Aragon.
People got to chat while they climbed the mountains, while they enjoyed traditional food and while they slept in 12-people rooms in their bunk beds.
It was a different experience from the usual conference, and we were really glad to hear that people really enjoyed it.
So we’re doing it again!
With Lorenzo, we decided that the experiment was successful and we’re going to continue to organize epic mountain retreats for investors and entrepreneurs, and maybe even more people.
The goal and spirit is very much the same as the first edition:
bring high quality people in a natural setting and let nature and its activities create bonds between them
unplug from the daily hustle and refocus on what is really important
get exposed to different opinions and ways of thinking, and bring it all back with you
When I was a kid, my parents used to bring me in the mountains to get nice fresh air for a medical condition I had. Since then I’ve been in love with the colors, the smell, the air, the physical activity, the sports, the views, and the culture of the mountains.
Now, I am fortunate to live all of this every single day. And it has helped me immensely to reduce stress, focus more, and think about what is really important for me and my family.
When I was in SF, one of the events I enjoyed the most was Camp YC, a weekend in the woods organized by Y Combinator. I loved the fact that it had a lot of unstructured time and that you could chat with fellow entrepreneurs around a campfire.
Given I can’t attend Camp YC anymore, and I want others to enjoy all that I’ve been having for the past year, I decided to organize something like it over here.
And so, the European Venture Retreat idea was born.
What is it?
The European Venture Retreat is an invite-only weekend-long retreat in the Dolomites, with 70 investors, entrepreneurs and generally very interesting people.
Definitely not. There are no big keynote speeches or workshops or panels. I’ve grown pretty tired of all the usual formats.
This is a weekend to unplug. It’s more like a vacation with a bunch of really interesting people.
But most of all it’s a way to create more meaningful relationships than the ones you can create at a conference.
So if it’s not a conference, what’s the agenda like?
The main activity will be hiking, and exploring the mountains. We will also have additional activities like night-time sky exploration, yoga and meditation.
We will have a lot of relax time that will be spent to forge deep relationships with the other participants, the ones that you create when you share a room in a mountain hut and share meals.
We will network and we will also have some mini-talks if the participants are interested.
Is this a luxury 5-stars event?
Absolutely not! This is a mountaineering expedition.
It’s the most spartan event you’ll attend this year, guaranteed.
We will be in a mountain hut at 2.440m with all logistical consequences: hard to get water, little space.
We will be sharing rooms (2 people the first night, 4–8 people in the refuge), and will have two tokens for showers (use at your own discretion, or sell them to others! Probably won’t have time to create an exchange so it’ll have to be OTC 😂)
It will be cold outside and it will be tiring to get to the refuge. You should only attend if you want to experience a mountain adventure.
Who’ll be there?
We have invited a wide spectrum of participants, with a focus on VC investors, angels, and startup founders.
I don’t think the #1 reason to come should be if there’s a celebrity VC or founder, as I think the best and most fruitful relationships are created with unexpected people. All I can guarantee is that the people will be extremely interesting and diverse.
We don’t want to have 2–3 rockstars and have all the attention focused on them, and have their and everyone’s experience be terrible. We want to create bonds that wouldn’t have been created otherwise.
I personally prefer to chat with people that are still hungry and interested in weird things, and that has also the benefit of creating a much more future-proof network.
But, we can share that we have many YC founders as well as participants from the following funds:
There will also be a solid presence of people interested in crypto-currencies.
We leave from Verona at 2030 hours on Thursday evening.
We’ll sleep in a hotel at the base of the mountain the first night.
We’ll hike to the refuge Friday am to get there by lunchtime.
We descend Sunday am, eat in a local place and aim to be in Verona by 5pm.
Plan travel accordingly!
I’m pretty proud of the fact that we have managed to keep the event at an amazing €389 price for early-birds. Price jumps to €499 for late tickets, if there will be any.
I’ve seen one-day events where you pay thousands of dollars, and come back with the same old boring stack of business cards and nothing more in your life.
Here, you’re just paying for your accommodation, travel and food expenses. You’re not paying anyone’s flight and luxury pre-conference dinner and most certainly a yearly salary to me (although BTC donations are welcome 🤑).