You might say Summit Series, a bespoke conference of "epic events" for the one percent, has been employing a freemium strategy. Back in 2008, 20-something CEO Elliott Bisnow started by footing the bill for young entrepreneurs like Zappos' Tony Hsieh (fresh off a round of layoffs), Path's Dave Morin, and Facebook's Joe Green (Zuck's former roommate and now lobbyist-in-chief) to frolic in Cancun in the midst of a recession.
The next trip—to Aspen—cost them $3,000, with Bisnow advising attendees to "go with the Mogul Single Room or Robber Baron Double Room" at the St. Regis.
On the hunt for a permanent home, the team looked at Soho House type models, beaches and other mountain communities. But once they saw Eden, Utah the decision to move solidified quickly. “It’s 55 minutes from an international airport and in the center of our country,” says Summit Team founder Jeff Rosenthal (pictured above, center with Summit Team Partner and former pro-soccer player Natalie Spigler and Summit Team Founder Elliot Bisnow). “There are no streetlights or stop lights in town. From the top of Powder Mountain, you can look out over 4 states. It’s an idyllic rural valley… It’s Narnian.”
The Next Web reports that Thiel himself, along with Tim Ferris, Heroku founder James Lindenbaum, Elle magazine founder Sunny Bates, and other founding members chipped in, paying $500,000 to $2 million a piece for plots of land.
Membership to Summit Eden includes access to a private lodge and ten thousand acres of skiing, riding, hiking and biking in addition to a year-round program of events, speakers and concerts.
Can't wait to see how the natives respond to peak gentrification.