Mauro is the CEO of Boundless Life, and also a serial entrepreneur, investor and advisor for many technology startups. In his work, he’s always built for impact at the intersection of real estate and travel technology. With multiple successful exists, he’s lived in 5 countries and travelled 50+ countries more, and that experience led him to start his most recent venture, Boundless Life with a mission to provide families with a more fulfilling life by designing a lifestyle enabling balance, growth, and deeper connections with ourselves, our families, nature, and the world.
About this episode
Ever wished you could take your family – and your business – to exciting new places? Mauro Repacci, CEO of Boundless Life, is making it happen. He’s on a mission to stretch the boundaries of remote work by creating family-friendly digital nomad experiences. Blending local education, coworking, and travel, it’s a transformative experience for every generation and a fresh twist on the future of work.
Jo Meunier [00:00:19] Hello and welcome to the Future of Work Podcast by Allwork.Space. I’m Jo Meunier and today I’m going to be speaking with Mauro Repacci, the CEO of Boundless Life, to discover a side to the future of work that some people might not have thought about or perhaps have dared to dream about. Boundless life is a mission to help people lead a more fulfilling life by combining their career with travel. Not only that, but these experiences are also designed for families where parents can work remotely and pursue their careers while their children are experiencing new cultures and education systems. So, I’m looking forward to hearing all about it. So welcome. Outro, and thank you for joining us today.
Mauro Repacci [00:00:56] Thank you, Jo. Very nice to be here today. I am very excited to talk to you about the future of work.
Jo Meunier [00:01:01] And where are you calling from today?
Mauro Repacci [00:01:03] Well, I’m in Greece, so I mean, there’s a Greek island called Syros, which is the capital of the sea clouds. And sea cloud is well known around the world for Magic Islands like Santorini and Mechanize. But we decided to move here and open boundaries in this island because it’s a new around island. So has a great climate and great people. But now the craziness of the tourists in the summer, the peak season.
Jo Meunier [00:01:31] Is always good. And one thing I mean, I was I’m pretty disappointed that boundless life wasn’t around when I was growing up in the traditional school environment here in the UK. So, first of all, just can you tell us more about Boundless Life and what led you to start it alongside your co-founders?
Mauro Repacci [00:01:50] So what led me to start it was the fact that my oldest daughter, Victoria, she was turning seven and joined the public system in Canada where I was living at a time, and that was during the pandemic. And like many parents, we actually because we were working from home and maybe Caleb was spending a lot of time at home as well as the closing, we actually had the opportunity for the first time to really see how the school system works. And when I saw it, I was shocked because nothing changed from the time, I was a kid 30 years ago. So, I was like, well, the system has not evolved. So, managing, changing the world. And my daughter was not happy. She didn’t like how rigid the system was and how big the school was that, you know, 30 kids in a classroom and no personalized learning. So, because of her frustrations and the fact that I kind of unraveled that the school system had not changed, I started thinking, is there a better solution? And my background is not an indication. You know, my mother is an educator and works at a school. All her life. I never really knew much about education except for talking to people, but my background was in startups.
Mauro Repacci [00:03:10] So having a background, you start out always saying, is there a better way to fix this problem? And there was something very close to me, like my own family being affected by it. And then also at the same time, I wanted a lifestyle of being able to move because I was born in Brazil. My ancestors are from Italy, Portugal, Lebanon. So, I really never felt like I could live in just one place. So, I wanted it. Flexibility. And prior to my oldest daughter joining the school system, we always spent 24 months abroad. And what happened to the school system you removed? You had the freedom to travel when you wanted. So now you basically need to wait, and your kids leave the school system for you to travel again. And in the time that you have to travel at basically the craziest time, spring break, winter holidays, summer holidays. So, it’s not the best experience for the parents either.
Jo Meunier [00:04:07] Expensive!
Mauro Repacci [00:04:09] Extremely expensive. You’re talking about three or four or five times more crowded spaces. You don’t get the best service. So, all of those things, we were like, wow, why should we continue living this way? So, what I did, I got together with the best people I knew. So, we brought into the team people with background and education and hospitality, and we started really brainstorming on things like, is there, is there a business that can be created out of day or is it really a co-op or what we’re looking to do? And we interviewed many families, more than 100 families, to understand why they would be interested in living a bound life where the time was going, a normal life. Right. So, what we learned data many people for a number of reasons wanted to have this flexibility and were very interested in alternative schools.
Jo Meunier [00:05:03] Mehm. Yeah. So, when you’re talking to people about boundless life, how do you pitch it? Do you sort of say it’s like the next progression of Co-Living or do you say it’s like a premium digital nomad experience for families? How would you put it?
Mauro Repacci [00:05:19] So if you think about it and as to how it works evolved, it started with very young people, the 18-year-old that got a freelancing job and then went to live in Bali. So that was ten, 15 years ago. And then most people start to marry and have kids and they want to continue that lifestyle. So, the thing is boundless is not a co-living solution because we have unique homes for each family. So that’s the main difference. So, when a family is traveling with their own kids, you want to have your own private space. So that’s something that we offer in the second part of our solution, as is their location. So as a young person, you want to party, meet people, go out, enjoy the local scenery, but as a family you really care about your kids’ education. And that’s the core part of our offering and youth system that enables parents to be able to move every three months to a new location without putting your kids into a traumatic experience. So, we have learned over the months how to actually build this. And then the last part is a place where families can gather and work, because the main difference between parents and young people is that single people is their ability to go out and meet locals. So, if you have your kids at home, like going out every night and making new friends, it’s very difficult. So, what Bali Provide is it’s a combination of the education system, a home that are designed for parents and families, and then also a community that can follow the kids anywhere they go.
Jo Meunier [00:07:03] That sounds fantastic, and the advantages are quite clear. But what about some of the challenges that some people face when they’re traveling, for example, navigating time zones, language barriers and visas and so on? Do you help families get through all of that?
Mauro Repacci [00:07:19] Yeah. So, the biggest challenge for families since we started has been visas, especially for families from the US in the UK with the changes in the European Union and all of those things. So, it is a challenge and many countries have advertised tournament visas as so. Very popular. Trendy, yes. But, in reality, it is a very challenging process to actually get those visas. And even though they say, well, five steps and you get a visa in this country, in reality, you have so much paperwork and steps and meetings at the embassy. So, what we what this is actually the biggest challenge the families face. And the easiest way to overcome it is actually alternating between new Schengen destinations and not changing. So, then people can stay nine, three months, 90 days in Europe and then 90 days in another location. And then some families that are a little bit more active have been doing this for longer. They are considering applying for residency. So that’s a process that takes long but brings a lot of advantages. The other issue is the language barrier. And navigating different time zones and cultures is actually an interesting challenge, and many of our customers see it as a learning experience. So, we say to Visa, we haven’t seen many issues by the family, especially in the regions where we are today, Portugal and Greece, which is which are countries that English is widely spoken. They are used to tourists. They are very welcoming. So, a lot of the challenges are no longer there.
Jo Meunier [00:09:08] Yeah. And in terms of the future of work, which we really focus on with this podcast, how do you see this combination of work, travel, family, lifestyle? How do you see that fitting into the future of work? Do you think it’s going to become more prominent now that remote and flexible work is a lot more mainstream?
Mauro Repacci [00:09:28] Yeah, so pre-pandemic we had three different industries. We had living, we had education and you had travel. So, all those two industries combined are over one quarter of the world economy. However, what happened is for many people it starts to become blurred, the lines between those things. So, a second home during the pandemic became a trend. People are buying homes at cottages or country homes or farms or beach houses, and that actually starts should open people’s minds to say, why should I live in a small condo in a large city where why when I can live in a beautiful farm or country home and be connected to nature. So. Desire for humans to actually have this flexibility and being always there. And the main restricted factor was their work and their kid’s school. So, the work barrier has been reduced substantially. So now there are a few companies trying to force their staff to go back to work. And there will be always companies that will be in a physical location. But most of the talent goes on. Flexibility is already flowing to very diverse companies.
Mauro Repacci [00:10:46] We just posted a position of head of people and culture and within a few days you got 600 applicants and the majority of them want to move from an in-office fixed location to a remote work environment. So, you’re actually able to attract the best talent. And then in the long term, that creates a competitive advantage for you as an employer. So that’s not going to change. Now, how do you overcome all of these challenges? And what we’re seeing now initially with thought boundaries would be for people on sabbatical. I said, I’m tired of living in a big city and I want to spend one year exploring the world and then I go back home. We have so far over 100 clients and none of them are in this profile. Actually, I got very, very curious. This was a big surprise for us. And the majority of our clients are people that say, I love London, I want to be there six months per year, but I also want to be in another city because of the weather and lifestyle. I want to be in a mountain, I want to be in a beach. Or maybe I have family in more than one place, and I want to spend time with both grandparents on both sides, or I have business, or my teams are in different places. So instead of going on a long trip and spending a week away from my family to be with my team, then we can be three months living wherever they are. So that’s really creates these new opportunities for people to be able to move around.
Jo Meunier [00:12:25] Yeah, and I see that makes me think of the community side of what you do. And I see the word community mentioned a lot throughout your website and in your marketing materials, and we know about the value of community and co-working spaces. And so how important is that for families that are uprooting, going to a different place and trying to get to know the local culture? How important is it for them to have a community network there to help them?
Mauro Repacci [00:12:49] Yeah, that was that was actually our second biggest surprise safety lounge. So, when I when I was at university, I was an exchange student, so I was living in Brazil, and I got to go to Canada for six months. And the day I arrived there; I didn’t know many people. So, within a few days, all because all exchange students arrive at the same time, they are going to the same university, they have the same mindset. You become friends and you hang out for six months. You go out, you go to rest and go on trips. And then you. I remain friends with many of these people for years and found this is actually exactly the same happening because you have a group of parents, they’re coming from all over the world, arriving in a new destination, open to make friends with kids, going to the same school, working from the same place. And all of a sudden, those groups actually start to create. And we thought we would be creating all those relationships, but they happen naturally.
Mauro Repacci [00:13:50] So some of one of our groups, we had people creating and running clubs and then they were running every morning, then crypto workshops. So, they were working on investing together, teaching each other. And then you had a conscious parenting workshop and depending on what area you’re interested in or all of them, you basically start to create those relationships. They stayed in touch. They are coming back together to their destination. But you really created this community where people are like-minded, their paths. They want to explore the world. And it’s really amazing to see how many people become friends and close to each other and how much they help each other. We had a large number of single parents and for them, something like the community is so important.
Jo Meunier [00:14:46] Yeah, it’s like everything we’ve been missing through COVID, through those, through that very long year when we had the lockdowns on again, off again, and those past couple of years, it feels like suddenly a lot of people are feeling this freedom where they can do these things, they can go traveling, they can get together and create communities together, make new friends. And it’s just yeah, it’s fantastic. Absolutely fascinating. And your team at Boundless Life, your team works asynchronously, is that right?
Mauro Repacci [00:15:15] Yes. We have.
Jo Meunier [00:15:17] How does that work?
Mauro Repacci [00:15:19] Yeah, we have over 50 people from 21 countries. So, I say from because they were living there before, but they may be in other places. So, we don’t have, we don’t have a physical office and people work from wherever they’re most productive, whenever they are most productive. And what we’re seeing is, first, as it enables us to attract talent that we would otherwise not be able to. Because let’s say you’re hiring from one location, my life company, we’re only hiring people that want to move to Montreal or they live in Montreal. So, we actually restrict the number of people that you can target and work with. What we’re doing is really amazing because you can get all this talent and what a synchronized work means is that you’re able to collaborate, but not always being at the same time zone and having meetings at the same time and end is a challenge is not an easy thing to do because we are used to like when you have a question to answer now, so you can go to the next person’s guest and say, Hey, I have a question, can you help me? And sometimes that’s helpful because a lot of you but maybe this other person, you’re doing very creative thinking and they cannot complete their work. So, what I say in my last company is we had an office, we had everyone going there every day pre-COVID and. People were on their headphones and on their computer and it would send messages to the person beside them. And they were like, wow, we are here. And like, okay, you’re up for happy hours and you know, having a ping pong table and having fun together. But when you are working, you are actually trying to work at your own things quietly. So, I think work gives you the opportunity to really focus and get things done when you are more productive, which is very different for different people.
Jo Meunier [00:17:25] Absolutely. Yeah. We work like that with all work as well. And what about some of the downsides of that started working? Like you say, you have slight communication delays. So, if somebody has a question they need answered right now, they might have to wait until that person comes online a few hours later. I imagine tech tools and documented processes would help to ease those challenges a little bit. So having some really good guides in the company that people can turn to when they need help. Are there any of the problems that you’ve overcome through the way you are?
Mauro Repacci [00:18:00] So in my life business, we brought over 20 software engineers from all over the world to go live in Canada, and they moved there because they wanted to immigrate to Canada. And we were basically the entry door, and many countries have guest worker visas and attract talent and many other types of incentive. And what happened is once they were there, they were on a journey to fit in with Indian culture. So, they are adopting. And today, because we just hiring doesn’t matter where you are. People are not changing your culture. They are not changing their communication style; they’re not changing their priorities. And we actually have just for a company to function, we need to speak the same language. We don’t want to change people’s cultural way of working, but we need to really collaborate in a very effective way. So why don’t you have people in all of those countries? We need to be very open and very understanding of the different cultures that and what people bring in terms of baggage or backgrounds that are different than yours. So, culture training is really essential for you to be able to keep that workforce productive and keep things going. Also, the other issue is time zone. So yeah, if you work remotely because we want to spend more time with your family, we want to have more time to exercise, they have more time for us. So, we want to work on and be more productive. So, it’s not for you to work 60 hours a week and have meetings at two or three in the morning because your boss is in another time zone.
Mauro Repacci [00:19:43] So how to overcome that is a big challenge and requires a lot of different things. So, what you mentioned is the guide to how to work and what boundaries are crucial. One thing that I tell my team and I do it myself if you block my calendar. On the hours that I have for myself and my family, because otherwise people are just booking you 24 hours and then you don’t, there are no boundaries between you just you have a physical boundary of your office and your home and that’s gone. So, you need to create that on your calendar. The other part is an onboarding process. So, we actually refine ours because that’s a core opportunity to create that culture, to make sure that people understand your vision and what you’re making as opposed to, you know, on a day to day you give a little doze because that’s how the office works. Every day you enforce enhancing the culture on a face-to-face setting, which is no longer available. Because of how you’re working nowadays. Yeah.
Jo Meunier [00:20:53] Yeah. And looking at the wider future of work vision as an entrepreneur yourself, you’ve grown and sold a couple of businesses before you created Founders Life. What do you think are some of the biggest future work challenges that business leaders in general need to overcome? What do you think are some of the biggest challenges that are coming our way?
Mauro Repacci [00:21:21] That’s a great question.
Jo Meunier [00:21:22] It’s quite a big question.
Mauro Repacci [00:21:24] Yeah.
Mauro Repacci [00:21:26] I, I think that’s true for business owners or founders or entrepreneurs is it’s really challenging because like before their work, their work, the workers and their local teams, you have very limited number of job options. So, people are very loyal to your building. Like if you they had not many choices. If they lose their job, then, you know, they can apply around the corner. But the opportunity now is the world. So, our job as entrepreneurs is to create something that is so compelling that people really want to be part of it. Because if you don’t this about salaries or benefits, they will find eventually something better. So, for us, the challenges like and for myself, sure, when I was doing my last company, we were very successful. We ventured back, we had capital, we paid people very nice salaries. At the same time, the mission and the values part were not as developed as boundless. And I think one of the conscious decisions I made was this this has to be a mission driven company. And when you attract people to join us, they must fit in to the exact same culture and really embrace all we’re creating. And if that’s not the case, then that’s not going to work very well in the long term. So that’s the challenge for entrepreneurs and I think for team members it is really finding places where they feel they belong because before all of this like informal conversation happened in the office, we had lunch of your coworkers all the time. You had coffee together and maybe you don’t like 100% of your task on a day to day, but we kind of stayed on it because of the people and now this instantaneous, spontaneous interaction and no longer happening. So how do you move away from just tasks and work to something more meaningful? And that’s a challenge that we’re going to be facing as our people are starting to spread out around the world and working most of the time remotely.
Jo Meunier [00:23:47] Yeah. So that some of the key takeaways I was getting from that was companies need to be clear on their mission and their values and they also need to invest in their culture. And a big part of that is, is offering staff flexibility. Yeah, that’s where Boundless comes in. And we’re reaching the end of our episode now. But I just wanted to know, what are your plans for boundless life over the next year or so as you continue to develop your company?
Mauro Repacci [00:24:18] So we have been growing very, very fast. So, in just seven months, we’re waiting for people to have 50 wow wishes. Yes. This is amazing. And there’s a lot of great people joining us, a lot of great things happening. So, we’re very excited. But at the same time, our offering is about education for kids, about community. And we need to make sure that we have the best quality and everything we do. So that is actually our main priority to ensure that we elevate and making sure we remain at the highest quality of everything going to provide in terms of services and product. And then we’d be opening several new locations as well over the next couple of months and years. And is really what we’re looking to do is to create a movement of people that, for the different reasons, want to have the flexibility and really creating this new education system that enables families to have flexibility to move, but also without sacrificing the quality of education of their children and the opportunity that you’re sure they may have to go into a university or a career that they want or starting a business. So that’s basically we’ve been focusing on when we are opening Italy this coming January, very excited about that beautiful place in Tuscany. So, I’m looking forward to that as well.
Jo Meunier [00:25:52] And what’s next for you after Greece?
Mauro Repacci [00:25:55] So I’m doing a scout trip, so I’m taking my family and we like when we decide on locations is a combination of science, like looking at data, there’s a great climate oh year, is this safe for family? Is that health care but also arts? Like when I go to do I feel like I want to live here for a part of the. So, we are scouting a bunch of Asian locations in December and then and moving to Italy with my family to launch the third location of Boundless. And after that, I’m not sure. I think we’ve committed to the lifestyle long term, but sometimes we do. We do miss living in Canada or in a bigger city, which is something that eventually we’re going to spend time part of the year in a major city and part of the year traveling. But so far it has been amazing for myself, my wife, and my two kids. So, we’re really having a great time there. The learning has been tremendous and we’re really enjoying our time together as a family.
Jo Meunier [00:27:06] Amazing. And one of the things I think when we talk about the future of work, one of the challenges that comes up so much is skills gaps and people not having the skills they need to continue to advance. And I think by what you’re doing, you’re creating a solution whereby children can have this slightly alternative education and learn so much through traveling and experiencing new cultures. So, I think it’s absolutely brilliant. I wish it was around when I was at school.
Mauro Repacci [00:27:33] Never mind. I wish I wish to be very different. And I think, too, like we are a mission driven company, too. And one of the things we see in the world today, especially this year, is a lot of polarization, a lot of like people not trusting each other and defining their own culture and not being open to other. And the main reason why I decided to create boundaries so that I also won the last time. But on top of that, I really believe that when you travel the world, you experience different cultures and make friends in different countries. Your kids will be more open, will be more empathetic to different cultures, and that will change the way we live, the way we interact with each other, and hopefully minimize many of the conflicts that happened today.
Jo Meunier [00:28:25] Fantastic. Well, on that note, thank you so much, Mauro, for talking to us.
Mauro Repacci [00:28:29] Thank you, Jo. My pleasure.
Jo Meunier [00:28:31] Can you tell us where our listeners can find out more about boundless life?
Mauro Repacci [00:28:35] So you can go to our website, a boundless life, or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook. So, yes, we are we are everywhere. Pretty much.
Jo Meunier [00:28:46] Fantastic. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Mauro Repacci [00:28:49] Bye.