Mamazen: retreat as a company culture pillar


Mamazen is a unique startup studio that operates on a founder-centric model. Unlike traditional incubators or accelerators that invest in external startups, Mamazen adopts a “founder studio” approach. 

This means they validate startup ideas and then entrust these proven concepts to experienced CEOs who guide the startups towards successful exits.

What sets Mamazen apart is their commitment to creating positive social impact. As a benefit company, they ensure that all the startups they establish prioritize sustainable practices and contribute to societal well-being. Their focus is driving digital transformation for micro-enterprises, particularly in fragmented sectors like home-based service providers.

This commitment to positive impact is seamlessly integrated into Mamazen’s operations and culture. Recognizing the importance of personal and psychological well-being, Mamazen invests in its employees’ personal growth through workshops on mindfulness and nutrition, promoting physical health and wellness.

Fostering teamwork and ideation through offsite retreats

Operating remotely, Mamazen understands the significance of maintaining strong team connections and fostering a collaborative work environment. To this end, they regularly organize offsite retreats for their employees, typically planning and executing these events internally.

However, for their most recent retreat, Mamazen decided to partner with Smartway to taste our seamless approach in organizing retreat in historic Italian villages. This decision was driven by Smartway’s unique approach, which resonated with Mamazen’s commitment to creating positive social impact while alleviating the logistical burden of event planning.

An immersive retreat experience in a historic italian village

The offsite retreat organized by Smartway took place in Novello, a picturesque Italian village, offering Mamazen’s team a chance to disconnect from their daily routines and reconnect with one another. The carefully curated itinerary included a variety of engaging activities, such as a treasure hunt that encouraged participants to explore the local surroundings and interact with village residents.

According to Farhad Alessandro Mohammadi, Mamazen’s CEO, the treasure hunt was a particular highlight, providing both entertainment and an opportunity to discover the village’s charms. “The treasure hunt was a lot of fun,” he shared. “We talked with the locals, explored the area, and it was a great game. It really helped us discover more about the place.”

Strengthening bonds and fostering ideation in a relaxed setting

For a company like Mamazen, where remote work is the norm, these offsite retreats serve as crucial opportunities to nurture interpersonal relationships and address any potential frictions that may arise from distributed collaboration. As Farhad explained, “For us, it’s a moment to be together. Every event has the logic of improving relationships, disconnecting, and perhaps alleviating some of the tensions that can emerge from remote work.”

Beyond team bonding, these retreats also provide a conducive environment for ideation and creative problem-solving. By stepping away from their daily routines and immersing themselves in a stimulating new setting, Mamazen’s team members can approach challenges with fresh perspectives and generate innovative solutions.

Streamlining event planning with a trusted partner

One of the key benefits of partnering with Smartway for this retreat was the seamless event planning experience. In the past, organizing offsite gatherings required Mamazen to coordinate with multiple vendors, a process that consumed significant time and resources.

“Before Smartway, we had to research all the partners ourselves, find the location, plan the activities – we did everything,” Farhad explained. “Obviously, the time cost was quite significant.”

With Smartway, however, Mamazen could rely on a single, trusted partner to handle all aspects of the event, from curating the location to arranging activities and logistics. This streamlined approach allowed Mamazen’s team to focus on their core objectives while ensuring a seamless and impactful retreat experience.

What are the benefits of Smartway?

Throughout the retreat, Mamazen’s team members thoroughly enjoyed the carefully curated experiences, such as the cooking class and the treasure hunt. Farhad praised Smartway’s responsiveness, organization, and attention to detail, stating, “Everyone was very organized, quick to respond, and accommodating. The feedback was excellent – the organization was well-done.”

Looking ahead, Mamazen plans to continue leveraging offsite retreats as a means to foster team cohesion, creativity, and ideation.

The Enduring Value of In-Person Connections

In today’s increasingly digital world, the importance of face-to-face interactions and shared experiences cannot be overstated. Companies like Mamazen understand the profound impact that thoughtfully curated retreats can have on team dynamics, ideation, and overall organizational success.

As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of remote work and distributed teams, offsite retreats will likely become increasingly crucial for maintaining a strong company culture, nurturing creativity, and driving long-term success. This interview offers a blueprint for leveraging the expertise of specialized service providers to create unforgettable experiences that transcend mere team-building exercises and contribute to the overall growth and well-being of an organization.