Jess Gartner has sold her house, packed up her life and set out to road trip across the country to find a new home. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say the open road will be her home — wherever the Wi-Fi is.
For almost a decade, Gartner, the CEO and founder of edfintech company Allovue, has been making waves in Baltimore. In 2013, she left her job as the director of education at Federal Hill incubator Betamore and eventually grew her company into a 37-employee shop, along the way raising more than $13 million in capital, completing major acquisitions of fellow edtech startups, and becoming a thought leader on equitable company management.
Allovue, which provides tools to help K-12 school districts and state education departments budget, manage and evaluate spending, is no longer a Remington-based company, as Gartner pursues the digital nomad life. The company has clients and employees across the country, and along her journey to find the next place she wants to live, she’ll be visiting those connections in person.
But regardless of where Gartner goes next, Allovue will always be Baltimore founded. Thus, it’s not “goodbye, Baltimore” but “See you later” in this Exit Interview.
Technical.ly: What inspired you to start the digital nomad life?
Jess Gartner: I was craving a big life change; I was restless. The last time I felt like that, I quit my job and started Allovue. I’m not looking to make that change again so I turned to other areas of my life.
I’ve lived in Baltimore for 13 years and I decided it was time to explore someplace new … but where? I travel a lot for work, but I usually don’t see much other than the airport and hotel room. There are many cities I’ve been eager to explore, but nowhere called to me quite enough to pick up and move there. I considered spending a quarter of a year in four different cities — but I was curious about way more than four cities, so then I came up with the idea of staying two to six weeks at a time in different places, and trying to visit 12 to 14 cities over the course of a year or so.
My rough plan is to do a slow clockwise loop around the country for the next year. I’m hoping to visit or camp in as many national parks as possible along the way, too.