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Startup Feature: Camp Reservations Canada

Camp Reservations Canada is part of our 4th cohort, connecting campers with campground operators to make selecting and booking a campsite simple.

Interview with CEO, Keith Leong and Business Development Manager, Cameron Sandboe.

1. Tell us about yourselves!

I have an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and an MBA with a major in Finance. Before starting Camp Reservations Canada (CRCA) I spent most of my early career with TransCanada. CRCA is an opportunity for me to follow my passion for the outdoors as a business owner. Camping is my favourite activity, and I am hoping to revolutionize the industry through his role as the CEO of CRCA.

Cam has an undergraduate degree in Engineering and an MBA with a major in Finance.  He has spent all of his careers in the Oil & Gas industry and has transitioned away from this field to dedicate his time on entrepreneurial endeavours. As the Business Development Manager for CRCA, he is able to leverage his sales skills while maintaining a work-life balance that was unavailable in the oilfield.

2. What problem does your CRCA solve?

88% of North Americans want to be able to book their travel online, but only 24% of Canadian campgrounds provide the ability to book your campsite online.  CRCA has developed a state of the art, secure, online campground management tool that allows campgrounds to efficiently and easily accept online reservations and payments from campers.

3. How do you solve this problem?

While the idea for the solution is simple, the system required is quite complex as the camping industry brings unique requirements. The campground management system must take into account a myriad of scenarios, as well as being user-friendly and intuitive for our customers.  This requires the careful accumulation of user feedback and the mindful creation of training materials.

4. When did you notice this gap in the market?

Both Cam and I are avid campers and have always been aware of the lack of online reservation systems for private, municipal, and not-for-profit campgrounds.  It was only after completing the MBA that it became apparent that together we had the combined skill sets to create a company and provide the solution.

5. What is your company culture like?

While we are still forming our company culture, one thing that has been stressed since inception is that Customer Service must be first and foremost in everything done at CRCA. As we gain traction we will continue our focus on the customer experience. As the company evolves we are gradually looking outside the company to contract services which are outside of our core competencies. We know what we do well and what we require help with in order to achieve our goals.

6. What has your experience been like with The Accelerator?

Our experience has been exceptional!  Being an entrepreneur is highly exhilarating but there are days filled with trepidation and doubt.  Regularly meeting with others sharing the same journey levels out the emotional roller coaster and adds a feeling of belonging that friends in the corporate world can not provide. Knowing the successes and struggles of other fledgling companies gives the incentive to continue moving forward, and ideas on how to do so.

7. What’s the biggest lesson you learned throughout your experience with The Accelerator?

It’s imperative to get your MVP into the market ASAP in order to validate your product-market fit. Get something out there that at least addresses part of your overall vision of the solution to a problem and see how people react… and be ready to pivot if your initial assumptions were not 100% on target.

8. What has been a major accomplishment for you in 2018?

Our major accomplishment in 2018 is the traction we have gained in Alberta with the launch of our first system. We exceeded the expectations of our customer and they are spreading our message via testimonials and willing to be referenced for our prospective clients.

9. What’s next for Camp Reservations?

This year we are looking to scale rapidly and expand to other provinces. We continue to connect with municipalities and have also developed key connections to do some Whale Hunting.  We are in communication with the Lions Club and Boy Scouts Canada and if we can close deals with these organizations, we will be working with campgrounds across Canada by May of 2019.

Want to learn more about CRCA? Visit our website at https://campreservations.ca or Give us a call at 587-331-6320 (Monday - Friday 9 am to 5 pm)!  If there is no answer, please leave a message.

Support CRCA and other local tech startups at The Accelerator Demo Day: Batch #4! Demo Day will showcase local tech companies in front of an audience of 200 and celebrate all they have accomplished during the 5-month program.

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Demo Day Recap

 
 
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Demo Day 3 saw over 200 Calgarians pack in Theatre Junction Grand to see 10 startups pitch, live. But before they presented their startups to the public, they faced a gruelling day of back-to-back pitches to venture capitalists and angel investors at the Dentons offices.

After 5 months of preparation, they pitched 5 times that morning to a total of 20 panelists, each an expert in their own field. Intense question periods helped our startups get practice in front of real investors. Many investors came from established oil and gas backgrounds, eager to get exposed to the startup world, an emerging asset class. Calgary’s economy is changing and diversifying rapidly, as evident by the growing number of startup applications the Accelerator and numerous other incubators in the city receive. Meet our startups below and learn all about what they are building.

 

MUBike

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MUBike, (Co-founders Allen Zheng and Dennis Huang), is a bike-sharing program run by advertising that supplies free bicycles to Calgarians. Just load the app, view an ad, and the bike is yours for a period of time, much like car2go, minus the payments. After securing a custom bicycle manufacturer, they are working on making partnerships with the City of Calgary to make more sustainable transportation a reality.

 
 

Michael Burak, Founder and CEO of Languages in Motion (LiM), has been in business for over 7 years. He uses artificial intelligence to translate standard legal documents like driver’s licenses from other languages in record time. Already deployed in over 52 registries across Alberta, LiM is growing rapidly. This technology makes immigrating to Canada much simpler, and cost-efficient.

 

RateSeer

Donna Tilden, CFA and CPA founded Rateseer, a new fintech startup that helps consumers find the most competitive banking, mortgage, credit card, and loan rates. Her informative databases help make financial decisions easier for everyday Canadians. In a sea of constant information, Rateseer helps sort through all the noise to find the best rates for you.

 
 

Getting your furniture delivered is rarely painless. Hadi Ahmadi, Founder and CEO of RentForMove, is changing that. RentForMove is a sharing economy platform that doesn’t make you wait for the furniture company to move your new purchases. Just search their list of movers for the one that suits your needs, book a time, and wait for your delivery to come.

 

JobJar

Wuilder Torres and Kenzie Dutka (pictured), along with CEO Naomi Pereira are here to make small repairs a breeze. Everyone has those small household repairs that they say they’re going to do… but never actually get to. That’s where JobJar comes in. Everything from drywall to plumbing, JobJar is the one-stop shop for all your household repairs. They are also helping Calgary’s economy by giving tradespeople who are out of work an easy way to pick up jobs. Fixing houses and helping local workers, what could be better?

 
 

Audience Choice award winner Steven Phan of Reputation Shielder set out to solve a problem for his father, but ended up creating a booming business. Poor online ratings was hurting his father’s repair business, but with Steven’s technology, he went from a 2.1 rating to a 3.9 in just months. Reputation Shielder uses text nudges to entice customers to leave reviews. Positive reviews get posted to online review sites, and negative reviews are funneled behind the scenes to the businesses for learning and development.

 

Head nurses spend hours of time finding people to fill in for sick workers, navigating complexe seniority, union, and skills rules to find the best fit. Treff allows healthcare workers to play to their strengths, taking care of patients, while it does the scheduling for them. It’s as simple as texting Treffs chatbot, “Jenny is sick”, and Treff takes care of the rest. It navigates complexe shift scheduling rules, saving head nurses and other healthcare administrators hours of time, and those workers more time to care for your loved ones.

 
 

Dentons Supports Emerging Tech Companies at The Accelerator

The Accelerator works with progressive thinking partners who understand startups and who can add incredible value to our founders, which is why we are proud to partner with the Dentons Venture Technology team.

We had the chance to chat with Lucas Tomei and Sebastian Elawny, Partners at Dentons, to see why they are excited about entrepreneurship and technology in Alberta.

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