CrashMyPad – Founders Reflect on the Past and Push Forward

It wasn’t long ago that John Dale and Dave Evans were deep in the trenches developing their site  and wondering if they would ever launch.  They had worked together in 96 when they designed and developed a desktop based customer management system.  It was right when the internet was taking off; they purchased a Compaq Prosignia loaded with Novell NetWare, networked the PC’s and marveled at the accomplishment.   They had also integrated a Thomas Brothers GeoFinder mapping program allowing them to pinpoint customer locations (an early mashup) displayed on the screen throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  This experience taught them how to take an idea from concept to completion, but more importantly it proved they had the right DNA.

Prior to starting CrashMyPad, John had purchased a report about the Vacation Rental Marketplace and how the market as a whole was changing.  “It was a real eye opener,” said John.  What he read made him realize there was an opportunity, so while back in school earning a certificate in internet programming; he reached out to share his vision with co-founder Dave Evans about what the future of accommodation rental marketplace might be.

They discussed developing either a subscription or transaction based website with a social networking feel to it.  With careful consideration, they decided on the transaction based model mainly because market demand was trending towards an end-to-end solution where travelers can book and pay for their accommodations online.   What travelers were most comfortable about was having CrashMyPad handle the payment process including the deposit and cleaning fee (if required).

Having worked on the site part-time during 2010 and with little to show for it, John decided that either they were going to go all in or they would shelve the project.  They both agreed they had come too far and needed to finish the site. Having set a launch date of May 1st, 2011, the target seemed almost impossible but they both kept pushing on.  Somehow they made the deadline and soft launched while working on facebook integration and improving the site.  The official launch date was August 1, 2011, with their first transaction in September. Being honored as one of the Top 100 Websites of 2011 by PCMag was a great way to end the year!

Currently the site has started to attract more members and listings.  “It’s a balancing act building a marketplace on both sides” stated John.  “The initial response from members has been positive and they find the site easy to use with many useful features.  Because the site is free to join, it’s a no-brainer to list your accommodation and start responding to inquires from members.  The interesting twist is that CrashMyPad allows you to not only list an entire home/apt, but also a private room or even a shared room. The ability to promote this type of space effectively in the past wasn’t possible, so it’s now opened up an entirely new option for travelers.”

Their vision is to have accommodations in every country and to enable members to travel worldwide using their service and spreading the ” CrashMyPad Way”.  They see the peer-to-peer accommodation marketplace as the future of how the world will travel. “When you can travel like a local, you get a sense of what it would be like to live in unique neighborhoods throughout the world, and that experience is priceless”.