Tell us the story of how and why you started your company.
I have always been an active person, and have always loved the outdoors. In December 2014 I was talking to my business partner, Brian Martell, about how frustrating it is to find and reserve campsites online. It clicked: this problem should be solvable. We spent a week researching the market and arrived on the conclusion Camp Native was a very viable business opportunity in a market we cared deeply for. Unfortunately, we invested much of our personal resources in a previous startup and did not have additional resources to invest in developing a new startup. Having been the runner-up in past accelerators but ultimately not receiving the grand prize, we decided we would try the accelerator route one more time.
Armed with a logo and some basic business plans, we applied to five different tech accelerators. To our excitement, by mid-January we had received four acceptance letters. We chose to attend two accelerators simultaneously, elmspring, a real estate tech accelerator in Chicago, and 9Mile Labs, a B2B accelerator in Seattle. Brian took the lead on commuting to Chicago from Minneapolis. I moved my family to Seattle for the four-month program. We graduated from elmspring in April and presented our business plans to an audience of over 100 business leaders and investors from Chicago. In May we graduated from 9Mile Labs and presented our plans in front of a packed house of nearly 700 people in Seattle.
In June we were selected as one of the top 10 new tech startups in Minnesota through the MN Cup. We have since opened up our seed round of investment and we are successfully closing that in October 2015.
What’s your most recent success or milestone hit?
Officially opening our seed round and receiving investment dollars. From a product side, getting our database cleaned up and uploaded. We now have over 20,000 campground listings.
Where do you see your startup in 1 year?
We will have talked to every private campground owner in the U.S. and will be beginning engineering work on developing our local marketplace which will allow for booking of other outdoors related activities from the campgrounds profile page.