Vacaryx is a vacation rental platform that aims to add functionality and transparency to the booking process by facilitating communication between hosts
The system currently has about 3,400 properties on its site,
all whole-home rentals and primarily at the higher end of the market.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your
We are an alternative platform for the vacation rental
industry that was created to restore the high‐touch elements of the business.
To date we positioned ourselves as a traditional listing site, but in the
upcoming months we will pursuing an ICO, which will give us the funding to
create a blockchain-based solution.
Our functionality will allow parties to
communicate directly, pre‐booking, while still providing Instant Book
capabilities. By utilizing the blockchain we will not have any transaction or
service fees, which will resonate very well with all parties involved.
Jackson Hole, U.S.
What inspired you to create this company?
Our founder, Jesse Martinek, created the company after
spending several years on the property management side of the business with two
of the largest and most‐well funded professional property managers in the
His experience gave him access to the evolving needs of the user and the
insight to bring a new approach to a consolidated industry.
While observing the
frustrations that were plaguing the industry on a daily basis, he knew that if
he had a viable solution he could sell it.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,
Threats) analysis of the company.
- Strength: We are smaller and more nimble than our large
competitors, which allows us to implement emerging technologies much more
readily and better serve the needs of the consumer.
- Weakness: Our competitors have a strangle‐hold on the market
place so without innovation it is a very difficult battle to win.
- Opportunity: The industry continues to grow and become more
main‐stream and the large platforms continue to make changes that are out of
favor with the user. We are seeing a general decrease in functionality and
increase in price other sites, which creates a great opportunity for disruption.
- Threat: Too many people know that the system is broken right
now and there is a rush for new companies to enter the space. While we believe
our approach, value proposition, and traction is unique, we also know that users
are being inundated with new choices, some of which will not be viable
long‐term. We hope that we can execute the plan that we have laid out because
we believe we can truly make an impact, if so.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate
from both the customer and the industry perspective?
While the large OTAs will tell you that the user wants
instant booking you can easily find plenty of users who disagree.
owners and managers still want to screen their guests, set expectations,
ask/answer questions, offer a higher level of personal service and local
knowledge to better the guest experience and create stickiness.
guests want the instant gratification of instant booking, these accommodations
are still large purchase decisions and many guests still prefer to have a human
being on the other side who is accountable.
By restoring pre‐booking
communications we address the higher end of the market where greater service is
expected and risk mitigation to the homes is paramount.
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So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of
We have been fighting to grow organically for the past
year‐and‐a‐half and it works. We have grown to more than 3,400 live property
listings and have achieved listing revenue in 13 consecutive months.
have been bottlenecked in terms of resources to add the proper sales and
marketing efforts, we are hopeful that our ICO delivers the resources needed to
go out and compete at scale.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a
genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
We know our solution isn’t for everyone. We only focus on
whole‐home rentals (no room sharing), which has allowed us to naturally
gravitate to the higher end of the marketplace.
We see professional property
managers as our ideal clients, as well as homeowners who have properties that
generate at least $50,000 per year in revenue.
The cost savings of our platform
is more evident to these users and the need for the added control we provide is
greatly appreciated. We are excited about capturing 5%‐10% of the inventory on
this side of the market and are certain that our business model is profitable
should we do so.
On the guest side we cater to those who want a more immersive
experience and want the added trust and service available through direct
How and when will you make money?
We have a transparent listing subscription for property
owners and managers who wish to list with us and can usually deliver an ROI
after one to two bookings.
Given that most users will easily achieve success at this
price point it allows for high‐retention and membership renewals which mimics a
SaaS type business model. Once we have integrated to the blockchain we will
eliminate all other fees.
Given the value we provide and cost savings we offer
we think that we easily win market share and achieve significant profitability
with this model.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the
founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed with this business?
Our founder worked with three Inc. 500 companies (two in the
vacation rental space).
In each of these roles he was tasked with identifying sales processes
that would resonate with the user while building brand recognition from
Our co‐founder & CTO is a self‐taught jack‐of‐all‐trades
and he has been instrumental in our ability to leverage technologies and create
the custom functionality required by our users.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business
Fundraising is hard. For investors who are not intimately
familiar with the industry it is difficult to grasp the true pain that has been
felt by the user over the last few years.
When they hear that we compete with
Airbnb they think that we can’t win, but for those that take the time to learn
about what has happened the light bulb goes off.
Seemingly we can get a meeting
with anyone, and we hope the added allure of our blockchain solution and the
ICO open the floodgates for us.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making
an impact ‐ so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
Innovation, listening to the needs of the consumer, and
We can confidently say that the first two will set us apart, as
legacy systems and corporate agendas have our competitors at a disadvantage.
That said, persistence is what will truly make us or break us.
We know we have
an uphill battle to climb, but if we wake up every day focused on the needs of
our consumer eventually we will get the exposure needed to take our business to
the next level.
PhocusWire Startup Stage
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