Zinnias aren’t just the cheerful pop of color for a garden or a bouquet. They are the inspiration and namesake for the latest startup out of Atlanta Ventures Studio.
The flower is a fast-growing and resilient variety that is known for its color variation brought about by cross-pollination. Those are important aspects of a successful company offsite, according to Founder and CEO Lauren Marturano.
“That’s really the beauty of offsites: They bring people together to cross-pollinate ideas to grow stronger and be more resilient,” Marturano said.
Zinnia focuses on creating customizable and “bespoke” experiences at company offsites. As Marturano explained to Hypepotamus, the platform is designed to make sure offsites are goals and outcomes-driven.
“Every company that’s come to us has slightly different goals…there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all hat’ for sales kickoffs, quarterly business reviews, board meetings, or executive leadership retreats,” she added. “But they want to bring their team together to have a concentrated moment of team bonding and team impact.”
The team took on 10 beta customers ranging from “early-stage startups to unicorns” before officially launching this week. Early offsite experiences have ranged from an executive team doing a food tour of Denver to a creative team renting a house in Tulum.
Zinnia is looking to tap into an increasingly large market opportunity. The corporate offsite and events space is set to reach $510.9 billion, according to Marturano.
Why Offsites Matter Now
That market is growing as hybrid and remote work continues to grow, which makes Marturano bullish on the space.
“There are two big factors that are affecting the market,” she added. “Number one is we’re coming out of this global pandemic where people got very used to working from home. Over 74% of companies are either hybrid or completely remote. And pair that with the economic downturn…one of the very first line items to go is office space.”
The turn towards remote and hybrid work means that companies need to find more innovative ways to connect team members, “build culture”, and “bring people together face-to-face.”
Growing at Atlanta Ventures Studio
Marturano built up her career both in corporate America and in the entrepreneurial space. She worked at Microsoft and Salesforce, where she told Hypepotamus she took on “stretch projects focused on bringing people together.”
Marturano ultimately fell in love with the process of building companies, which led her to help launch Ternary, a Miami-based B2B SaaS platform used to integrate subscription memberships between websites, Discord, and payment processors like Stripe. It was through Ternary that Marturano first connected with Kathryn O’Day and the rest of the Atlanta Ventures team.
Marturano will split her time between Charlotte and Atlanta as the startup scales. The team will be onboarding a Head of Events in the coming weeks.
Zinnia is the latest startup spun up inside Atlanta Ventures Studio, an incubation program designed to ideate new startup ventures with help from the Atlanta Ventures team.
In-person experiences are nothing new to the Atlanta Ventures team. In 2020 the Studio launched Intown Golf Club, a private social club that started in Buckhead and will be expanding into Nashville, Charlotte, and other national locations.
The Studio is also behind Zeto, a home management platform that connects homeowners to maintenance help. The Zeto team raised a $600,000 funding round led by Atlanta Ventures in April 2022.