The Story Of My Startup

entrepreneur iceland success thoughts May 08, 2011

I thought it appropriate to do my first post here about my startup.

The story:
“During the summer of 2009 I took a few days off from work to relax. It just so happened that a good friend of mine also had some days off at the same time so we thought we would rent a cottage in the countryside. In Iceland there is a long tradition for staying in cottages over the summer to relax and enjoy nature. These cottages are usually very luxurious and often have hot tubs and most of today’s modern comforts. But when we started looking for a cottage to rent we ran into a problem, there was no open market for cottages in Iceland. There were a few individuals here and there that had one to rent but it was very difficult to get in touch with them and usually they were already occupied. It seemed that the only way to rent a cottage was through the labor unions, but that meant you would have to book them months in advance.

We both knew there were thousands of cottages out there (11.454 to be exact) in a country with only 300.000 inhabitants. So how could it be this difficult to find one to rent?

After having spent a whole day in search of a cottage without success we thought about what could be done to improve this problem. We started to draw down ideas for a website that would contain a database of cottages for rent. To begin with we were sketching down these ideas just for fun, we were both interested in UI and simple solutions and this was an interesting project. After a few sketches we thought “we could do this!” and that’s when Búngaló was born.”

About 9 months after the idea was born the website was up and running, it was just a beta version but it worked and we wanted to get it out there as soon as we could. Today, almost a year after the website went online, we are still working on improving it and will soon release version 2.0. The idea during these past 2 years has continued to evolve and has become much more then just a database of cottages. We are now creating a web platform where families can rent out there vacation homes when they themselves are not using them. Our hope is that this will help these families create income from a property that would else just be standing and collecting dust. At the same time it will open up the vacation home market for travelers and give them a much larger variety of vacation rentals to choose from.

Our mission with this website is to try and make the whole process of renting out a vacation home as easy and safe as possible. By giving the families all the tools and resources they need we hope that they will not only maximize their income but also activate them more in the process and thereby making the experience for the tenant much more enjoyable.

So far it has become a success here in Iceland but we are constantly working on improving it as well as working on opening up an international version of the website. You can see the Icelandic website here and we have already bought the domain and will be opening up an international version within the year.

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