Finding a private club that matches your business and leisure interests while also being geographically advantageous isn’t necessarily the easiest of tasks. But what if you could subscribe to a platform that puts you inside hundreds of clubs across the globe with just one membership?
Luca Del Bono is propelling this idea with Onda (“wave” in Italian), an app and website that grants globe-trotting bons vivants, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts and creators access to membership clubs around the world. Launched in 2018, the Onda community now includes more than 250 member clubs and spaces in 75 cities and destinations on five different continents. “The principle is that every wave around the planet is connected through the ocean, but also every wave is unique in its shape and energy,” Del Bono says.
The Italian-born, London-bred hospitality entrepreneur, who cofounded luxury lifestyle concierge service Quintessentially in the early 2000s (and later the South Kensington Club in London), started Onda after he migrated to L.A. to build a members’ club. Del Bono saw how many clubs in development all had the same issue: How do you attract the right people with common interests to create a true community? The solution was to create a program that would appeal to digital nomads and offer them the flexibility to discover clubs and coworking spaces without the barrier of entry of a complicated and lengthy application process or the perception of elitism.
“We created different tiers to access different types of spaces, and we personally vet every applicant,” he says. “I often say to our members, ‘Look at Onda as your basecamp. You are a modern-day explorer and use it as a springboard for whatever mission you want to go on,’ ” he says.
There are two levels of membership: Private ($960 per year) and Explorer ($1,200 per year). The simple application process involves answering a few questions about interests, passions and work life, and how you plan to use the clubs and spaces. When vetting applicants, Onda looks for those who can contribute to the platform in a meaningful way.
“We ask people who apply if they would like to share an experience or passion with the community by hosting an event,” Del Bono says, noting that 74 percent of Onda members are female with an average age of 38. Two-thirds of them are based in the US. When approved, you get access to a network of locations that includes The Britely in Los Angeles, Maxwell’s in New York, Saint James in Paris, The Ivy Club in London, and Juno House in Barcelona. Onda members may visit three creative workspaces globally up to three times per year per space; access members’ clubs around the world three to six times per year per club; and invite up to three guests per visit.
“Our network varies from clubs to workspaces,” Del Bono says. “Some workspaces have incredible facilities like screening rooms, food and beverage offerings, gyms and special programming. They are very much the modern members’ club, even though they might not define themselves as such.”
Onda is also ideal for those who don’t want to “put a ring on” one specific club. “People don’t seem to want to commit to one stand-alone place by paying high fees upfront. So the conclusion is to offer them the opportunity of visiting and discovering several places around the world—attending their events, going through their programming, and then, should they like the place, they can join or have their applications fast-tracked.”
After three months, Private members have the option of upgrading to the Explorer level, which includes a Soho Friends membership. Onda partnered with Soho House to offer its members access to this program, which provides the ability to book hotel rooms at clubs with chambers as well as unlimited admittance with three guests to Soho House Studios—which have coworking and social spaces with food and beverage—around the world.
Those who belong to Onda also can sign up for events such as guided meditation in London with actress Goldie Hawn or talks like “Confessions of a Spiritual Entrepreneur” with Lavinia Errico, the founder of Equinox Fitness Clubs, in New York. (Errico was an initial investor in Onda alongside Westfield Corporation co-CEO Peter Lowy.) Del Bono relocated Onda to London during the pandemic and then in 2021 joined the Founders Factory start-up accelerator program, which aligned him with his business partner and CTO, Axel Talmet.
“We built our proprietary system in-house last summer and launched these new apps in December,” Del Bono says. They will also introduce Onda Luxe this fall, headed up by partner and strategic director Jamie Caring, former CMO of Soho House, with clubs in key cities such as London, New York, Miami, L.A. and Milan. As for Onda’s future, Del Bono hopes that it will become an authoritative voice in the industry through its platforms and outreach.
“Onda’s mission is about galvanizing community,” he says. “We are creating a strong private network for the hospitality industry, at present for members’ clubs mainly, but also hotels that are looking to create a membership model. We’ll be hosting a summit next spring, bringing together owners of these wonderful places.”