Oli Russell-Cowan is the Founding Director of Rad Season. Born in London, UK he moved to Sydney four years ago for the lifestyle and surf. He has over 15 years experience in International business development, spanning multiple industries including Events, Media, Digital, ICT, Action Sports, Travel and Tourism.
Rad Season is the world’s first one-stop-shop that provides comprehensive information on action sports and adventure events across the globe. The free website allows users to search by location, date and type of action and adventure sport to not only find events, but also the closest accommodation and most convenient travel to and from the event – all in one go.
Discovering rad events is now made easier by our advanced search and booking engine and also by our blog, curated newsletters and community of users.
At Rad Season, we also understand the importance of connecting with like-minded rad people, which is why we’ve created the ultimate community to help you find out about and share your next rad adventure (radventure) with.
Whether it’s a snowboarding music festival in the Austrian Alps in April, a surf contest in Hawaii in December, or a camel riding race in the Australian outback in July, on, it’s always the season somewhere.
Tell me a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
The concept for Rad Season came about when I was trekking around Latin America on a four month trip in 2015. I found it difficult to find cool events and festivals going on that were a bit different and had an element of adventure and general radness to them.
I knew that there was always something rad worth going to somewhere in the world at one point in time, but there was no single platform bringing information together for like-minded people. If you were to get lucky and hear about an event in time, you still have to pull up multiple websites to work out all your travel details, accommodation, transport, and reviews. I wanted to eliminate the click-work by integrating all these elements and making the planning process seamless to get people stoked on discovering their next adventure.
Tell me about your business model.
We are working on a tailored aggregator model for accommodation and travel and look to incorporate an advertising model through predictive analytics.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
The key focus is to grow the platform by adding more events and tailor the event selection to our audience needs. We are also looking to create strategic partnerships with the travel, adventure and action sports industry and associated communities to provide the best offering to our customers.
We’re a relatively small team at the moment which makes things less complicated. We discuss the business or technical related idea then put forward the options and decide together on the best solution.
What role have mentors played in your business life?
Mentors have played a huge role in helping us plan out our strategy and advising us on what path to take and how to conduct key aspects of our business. Their insights on the industry have been invaluable. It’s always great to learn from founders who have been there and done that and got the scars to prove it.
What does your typical day look like?
I get up at 5am, check the surf forecast and if it looks good I go for a quick surf before starting my working day. Over breakfast, at home, I structure my day. I put a list together to prioritise my tasks for the day and then I head into my office in Manly.
Each day varies from going to meetings with clients and partners in the city to running marketing campaigns and site development requirements from the office. That’s the beauty of running your own business, it’s almost impossible to ever get bored as there are so many things that need to be done and that can be done. Plus the flexibility is pretty sweet.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business in Australia?
I am originally from the UK and have been living in Australia for the past four years. Initially establishing a new network from scratch has been challenging. However, doing business in Australia has been great as the startup scene is strong and people are always willing to help out and support where they can. There is a true sense of community which has been amazing.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
Find something that you are passionate about and pursue it. Life’s too short to not do what you love.
What companies do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
What about internationally?
Rad Season is a global website with our main focus and target markets being the US, Europe and Australia.
We aim to provide a comprehensive platform of all the adventure events and festivals from around the world. Any country can use Rad Season. At present, we have events in 67 countries and we are looking to increase this to 100 countries by the start of next year.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
Businesses have a responsibility to change the way things have been done in the past. Companies can have a real impact and lead the way that product and services are consumed to achieve sustainable growth.
Is there a particular charity or social enterprise you support?
We are looking to partner with environmental charities. We are well aware of the impact that travel has on the global environment and how we can give back to preserve what we take for granted.
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
What has been the single best piece of advice that you have been given?
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?
Yes, absolutely! There are a number of ways people can get involved. We are always on the lookout for awesome writers, photographers and videographers as contributors to cover adventure travel and action sports stories.
We currently have various internship positions in marketing; public relations and communications; operations and content management.
In addition, we are accessing potential funding options as we look to raise a seed round next year.
What’s your favourite bar?
My local favourite would have to be Jamtown in Manly. It’s a Jamaican inspired bar and has amazing jerk chicken and good tunes.