Forest and mountains.

TripOutside: Preserving the Planet With Human-Powered Adventures

Growing up in northern Minnesota, Julie Singh ’03 has always been drawn to wildlife conservation and nature. Years later, her profound connection to the outdoors has evolved into a business dedicated to preserving the environment she loves.

Julie Singh ’03

She spent her early career working in corporate finance, but always felt the pull toward the outdoors. In Atlanta, she met her husband Reet, who shared her love for travel and outdoor adventure. While working at Home Depot corporate, they began talking about how they could turn their passions into a full-time business. The idea for TripOutside was born out of a vacation to Utah after struggling to find and book their favorite outdoor activities.

“We spent more time researching and booking activities than actually enjoying them,” Singh explained about their idea for an online marketplace where activities like mountain biking, kayaking, and canyoneering can be discovered and booked on a single platform.

The Singhs take a hands-on approach in their business, personally vetting the local outfitters and guides and taking the excursions wherever possible to ensure unforgettable experiences for users. With TripOutside, customers can choose from more than 5,000 outdoor adventures in 350 destinations across North America.

Embracing nature responsibly

The mission for TripOutside is to help people get outside to connect with nature and love the outdoors, and as a result, work to protect it.

“TripOutside’s focus is on human-powered outdoor activities, or what’s also referred to as ‘silent sports’,” said Singh. “We only offer human-powered activities that don’t involve motorized sports or fossil fuels and minimize the impact on ecosystems.”

Support from the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship

As their business grew, the entrepreneurs sought guidance to take it to the next level with the help of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas.

“We were fortunate to participate in a pre-accelerator program at St. Thomas, where we received mentorship and resources to grow our business,” said Singh about reconnecting with her alma mater nearly 20 years after graduating.

The gBETA St. Thomas program, which works with student and alumni start-ups for no fees or equity, allowed them to refine their business strategies, build strong relationships, and expand their impact. “I’m now part of a female entrepreneur group that meets every month,” said Singh about continuing to stay involved with St. Thomas. “We talk about our business wins and challenges, provide resources and share information to support each other. It’s been really great.”

Singh’s time at St. Thomas has left a lasting impact, emphasizing the significance of empathy as a soft skill and a guiding principle in their business decisions.

Empathy is essential for entrepreneurs to understand their customers and communities better.

Julie Singh ’03

Exploring regenerative experiences

As TripOutside grows, the founders remain committed to their original purpose: inspiring others to explore the outdoors responsibly. They allocate a portion of their revenue to support initiatives such as Save the Boundary Waters, The Conservation Alliance, and Leave No Trace, aiming to minimize their impact on the environment and motivate others to do the same.

The couple is also beginning to embrace regenerative experiences, a newer concept in tourism. “We’re excited about the potential of regenerative tourism, which helps the local communities and ecosystems that we recreate in and goes beyond the basic concept of sustainable tourism.”

They are seeking partners that leave a place better than they found it – like snorkeling and diving tours that engage the local community in Baja, Mexico, to participate in tourism rather than overfishing, resulting in a huge ocean conservation success story for the area.

Choosing a purpose beyond themselves or their company has been their “guiding star” throughout their entrepreneurial journey. They admit that some days can be tough as entrepreneurs, but having a purpose bigger than just making money or selling something, and remembering the positive impact you’re making in the world, makes all the difference.