Robert J. Trulaske Sr., College of Business, University of Missouri

Mizzou Business News

#MizzouMade: Trulaske grad Zach Beattie launches screen-free adventure company

As a serial entrepreneur, Zach Beattie is pretty good at solving problems with smartphones. As a student at Mizzou, Zach co-founded SafeTrek, a personal safety app that makes contacting authorities in an unsafe situation easier and faster. Post-graduation, he’s fixing problems created by smartphones.

As progressed through his entrepreneurial journey in the tech space, Zach noticed something troubling: smartphones and mobile apps are often designed to be addictive, occupying a huge portion of the average person’s day and wreaking inadvertent harm on mental health. He dreamed up a screen-free antidote: take people on a 10-day vacation, surround them with adventure-seeking travel companions and help them disconnect with their phones. Zach’s latest venture, called Off The Grid, is this idea brought to life. Off The Grid’s website launched in February and the company is gearing up for trips to Portugal, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Spain, Peru and Mexico (apply to go on one of the trips here).

Innovation and big ideas were very much a part of his college experience here at Mizzou. SafeTrek and Quirks Consignment Store were both wildly successful ventures he pursued as a student, and his entrepreneurship-focused curriculum equipped him with a set of skills he put to good use early-on. During his stint at Mizzou Zach joined a community of fellow go-getting strategic thinkers, the Entrepreneurship Alliance. In particular, Zach recognizes Entrepreneurship Alliance director Greg Bier for his invaluable mentorship and support.

"The Trulaske College of Business and Entrepreneurship Alliance were critical leading up to the launch of Off The Grid,” Zach said. “I've been able to lean on a growing network of Mizzou entrepreneurs, creators, and business owners, even years after graduation. It's a tight-knit, supportive community and it's one of the main reasons I had the confidence to take a leap and start my own venture."

All of this hard work and dreaming big earned Zach a well-deserved spotlight: he earned first place in the National Entrepreneurship Challenge and was honored as the University of Missouri System’s 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year. You can find him on Good Morning America, Business Insider, Fox Business and Missouri Business Alert.

“Zach was one of those students that took full advantage of the opportunities presented to him,” Bier said. “He immersed himself in the entrepreneurship mindset while at Mizzou and it has truly paid off for him, his customers, and the teams he pulls together for his ventures.”