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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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