Above: Founder Jon Staff at a Getaway tiny house in the Catskills, New York (photo by HollenderX2)
Growing up five hours north of Minneapolis, Jon Staff (MBA 2016) was never far from woods, lakes, and a sense of escape. That peace became harder to find while working up and down the East Coast as a tech founder and startup consultant. Burned out, Staff took a few months off before enrolling at HBS to park a borrowed Airstream trailer in various towns around the Mountain West. That was an experiment in tiny living; in Bozeman, Montana, he saw his first tiny house.
“I thought I could buy or build one and stick it in the woods outside Boston—far enough away that I could escape stress and the city, but near enough that I could get there easily,” he recalls. That impulse became the inspiration for Getaway, a startup incubated at the Harvard i-lab; Staff serves as president and CEO. Piloted in 2015 with three tiny houses in the southern New Hampshire woods, Getaway now offers 89 escapes in areas less than two hours from Boston, New York, and Washington, DC, with the goal of expanding to three new markets in the coming year. Getaway’s message? Put your phone in a provided lockbox. Disconnect. Rebalance. Recharge.
“We get real notes from real people who stay in our real houses,” he says, describing a recent message from a woman who thanked Getaway for helping put her marriage back on track. “That kind of feedback has made us even more committed to our mission of creating a time and place for people to have balance in their lives.”
Class of MBA 2016, Section A