SOMEONE I ADMIRE: Arlan Hamilton, Margaret Sanger, and Alice Paul. IF I WERE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND AND COULD TAKE 3 THINGS: A solar charger, iPad, and Starlink. With those three things I can solve any problem. FAVORITE AUTHOR OR BOOK: My favorite book for a lifestyle paradigm shift is The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. The book that most profoundly opened my eyes to 20th century queer history in America is Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg. And for a radical uncovering of women’s political and social oppression, Witchcraze by Anne Llewellyn Barstow.
Creating community & connections with the outdoor world
SEEING GAPS AND FILLING THEM. Breanne Acio and her wife dreamed of experiencing the beauty and adventure of the open road. They even had the perfect vehicle: “We had this amazing converted van we’d built-out that we named ‘Flipper,’ because we’d essentially flipped it like you might a house into this cool RV.”
The reality, however, failed to fulfill their dreams. “We had this vision of going off and camping at the beach or under the stars or doing cool things in the desert, but there was one problem: the sad reality was that we kept awkwardly ending up in Walmart parking lots or lame roadside pull-outs because finding these idyllic places to park or camp is very, very difficult.”
While camping apps and resources offered information piecemeal, Breanne and her wife had to use numerous apps and conduct a lot of Google searches to find exactly what they needed - smart, helpful, and comprehensive information. Inspiration struck as Breanne began work-shopping the idea of an app that would provide information, resources and help when it came to planning outdoor travel - all in one place. From there, Sekr was born in 2018.
Breanne teamed up with Co-Founder Jessica Shisler, Ph.D., to create a crowd sourced mobile platform making every step of the outdoor travel planning experience easier, safer, and more social. Sekr is creating an inclusive community through access to 50K+ campsites, including the nation’s largest database of free campsites, and local outdoor events.
REFLECTING WHAT'S UNFOLDING TODAY. Breanne’s family struggled financially and had experienced homelessness. “I just didn’t know what entrepreneurship was, it wasn’t something my family talked about. I only knew I didn’t want the same struggle, if possible.”
Of course, Breanne’s latest newest adventure required capital. “I’ve always been very strong in my identity and because I came from this academic background, I made a decision early on to be an advocate for other people like me, a larger queer woman of color,” Breanne explains. “The problem I often find in traditional venture capital and in the startup ecosystems is that I don’t often fit the traditional profile.”
While busy capturing the attention of investors and raising venture capital, Breanne holds time in her schedule to document her experiences and pass her lessons on to those who share her background and experience. “My company represents not just me, but my values. Sekr is inherently inclusive, community-focused and welcoming. And the translation of these values are poured into all of our design, marketing, communications, and business processes. Even our team, which is mainly minorities—which is rare in the outdoor travel industry—is an intentional part of our capital plans and business model,” she explains.
This is why Breanne remains hopeful about the future. “We want to represent everybody who’s going outdoors. The fastest growing demographics for outdoor recreation are women and people of color. So we’re not just some company focused on that reality, we’re a company born out of that reality. We’re not just transforming the industry; we’re ready to meet it halfway, today. That’s a really cool place to be.”