Discover the inspiring journey of Madison Rifkin, founder of Mount – a trailblazing platform redefining sustainable travel and female empowerment in tech.

Want to make tortillas in Mexico City? How about surfing lessons in Santa Cruz?

Meet Madison Rifkin: the intrepid founder and CEO of Mount. Mount is a tech platform that champions sustainable travel and women’s empowerment. How? By connecting travelers with meaningful experiences on their trips.

The team behind Mount believes that no one should be tied down to a place, much less an office. Instead, they’re all about the nomadic life. That’s why they’ve designed a platform to make that lifestyle easier and more accessible. 

Working with short-term rental hosts all over the world, Mount connects travelers with authentic, unique experiences that both support and expose them to local communities. It’s a finalist for the 2024 Bessie Awards‘ Travel Startup of the Year. The award honors an engaging, innovative, and impactful startup that we as a community of influencers believe is changing the way we travel.

Madison reflects on her journey and shares with us her vision for the future in the travel industry and beyond.

How Mount Finds Empowerment and Purpose in Travel

Founder Madison Rifkin of Mount
Founder Madison Rifkin of Mount

Madison has been an adventurer since she was 12 years old. Fueled by an insatiable curiosity and a love for exploration, she and her family embarked on countless adventures across the globe. 

“As an avid traveler, I discovered the transformative power of these experiences and the profound connections that can be forged through exploration,” she tells us. 

“The idea for Mount sprouted from my own encounters as a young traveler and a desire to empower hosts while enriching the travel experience for guests. What started as a youthful dream has evolved into a platform that connects people worldwide, fostering meaningful connections and authentic experiences.”

The core of Mount’s mission revolves around sustainable travel, driven by a commitment to preserving destinations for future generations. “Mount’s mission is rooted in the belief that travel can be a force for positive change, fostering cultural understanding while respecting our planet,” Madison affirms.

She says that her early travel experiences instilled a deep sense of responsibility to preserve the places we explore for future generations. 

A second component of her mission at Mount is a fervent dedication to pushing the boundaries for women in the workforce. “At Mount, we stand proud as a female-founded and led organization,” she says. 

“This isn’t just about breaking glass ceilings; it’s about building bridges for others to follow,” she continues. “We strive to showcase that not only is it possible for women to lead in the tech and travel industries, but it’s also thriving. Every success at Mount echoes our commitment to shattering stereotypes, inspiring others to envision and achieve their full potential.”

We strive to showcase that not only is it possible for women to lead in the tech and travel industries, but it’s also thriving.

Madison Rifkin, founder of Mount

Pivotal Moments & Crediting the Mount Team

Madison Rifkin and the team at Mount
Madison Rifkin and the team at Mount

In 2023, Mount launched a huge rebrand. “Over the course of a year and a half, the Mount team worked tirelessly to navigate the complex landscape of the market, seeking our unique position,” Madison explains. “It was a journey marked by dedication, resilience, and collective effort.”

Madison gives credit to the Mount team, saying that “the rebrand wasn’t just a visual overhaul; it symbolized a profound alignment of purpose and identity.” She tells us that the unwavering commitment and shared vision of the team led them to this success. “It stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and the collective spirit driving Mount’s trajectory,” she offers.

“The ongoing digital transformation and the need for inclusive opportunities are key challenges the industry faces,” Madison adds. And these are challenges that the team at Mount is ready to face together. 

They take their responsibility in the travel industry seriously. “As we navigate the contemporary travel landscape, one of the most crucial issue is the sustainable and responsible growth of tourism,” Madison asserts. “Balancing the desire for exploration with the preservation of local cultures and environments is a shared responsibility.” 

“Balancing the desire for exploration with the preservation of local cultures and environments is a shared responsibility.”

Madison Rifkin

How Mount Envisions a Positive Future for Travel

“In envisioning the future of the travel industry, I see a landscape characterized by sustainability, genuine cultural exchange, and equitable opportunities for all,” Madison declares. “Leveraging technology responsibly will play a pivotal role in fostering connections and ensuring the positive impact of tourism is shared globally.” 

Madison and Mount aspire towards a future where travel becomes a force for positive change, bringing people and cultures closer together. And it’s one we are fully on board with, too!

“Looking forward, my focus is on expanding Mount’s global impact,” she continues. “We are dedicated to furthering our innovative flywheel model, nurturing organic growth, and solidifying Mount as the premier platform for authentic travel experiences. Continued collaboration with our community and ongoing innovation remain central to our roadmap.”

We anticipate great things coming from Mount this year and beyond. But first and foremost, we’re excited to be celebrating this exceptional work at the Bessie Awards

“Being nominated for a Bessie Award by our community is a profound honor,” Madison says. “It signifies the alignment of our efforts with the needs and expectations of the very community we serve. This recognition energizes us to continue pushing boundaries, creating value, and fostering a travel experience that resonates with our users.”

Madison tells us that she finds inspiration in the remarkable female content creators that fuel Wanderful and WITS

“Each of you is a beacon of creativity and resilience. It is your collective energy that propels me to keep creating and pushing the boundaries of travel forward,” she expresses. “The diverse perspectives and trailblazing spirit within this community fuel not only my personal drive but also the ethos of Mount. It’s an honor to draw inspiration from the incredible women shaping the future of the travel industry.

About the Bessie Awards

The Bessie Awards honor women and gender-diverse people of impact in travel. Particularly influencers, creative entrepreneurs, marketers, and other representatives who have contributed unique voices and work to the travel industry.

We couldn’t agree more, Madison! 

We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate the work that Mount are doing to create a better travel industry for us all.