Who are you?
Jesse Martinek, Founder & CEO of Vacayrx. We’re an alternative platform for the Vacation Rental industry focusing on increased transparency, cost-savings, functionality and technology; with the goal of bettering the experience for property owners, managers, and guests.
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
I had spent several years in the vacation rental industry and after watching a number of changes occur on the largest platforms in the industry, and the negative fallout from the everyday user, I began looking for alternatives and was shocked at how few existed. I then hired someone on Upwork (who is one of the most brilliant people I have met, and has since become a Co-Founder) to begin working on the project.
After completing the original task he asked what I was looking to accomplish and the rest is history. He and I developed a comprehensive solution based on my observations of what the industry needed and he used his technical background to implement this functionality into a working solution. We have since added a full-time developer, and two marketing specialists and are currently on the team and recently launched a fully-functional site built to specification.
The best part, is that our service continues to be validated and is getting some great attention from market leaders. We have over 400 vacation rental listings in over 20 States and are looking to begin adding international properties by Q3 of this year.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
I have bootstrapped the entire project. This has been a true financial challenge for me because I know we are building a superior product and I don’t want to skimp on anything. That said, I also know I can’t take on the biggest players in our industry on my personal budget and within the last couple weeks we have begun our outreach for capital…so far, with a very positive response.
What has been your biggest achievement or success?
From a personal standpoint I am extremely proud of our team and how much we have accomplished in such a short time. I do not have a very technical background, so it has been very rewarding to build a technical team that has listened to concepts that I believe will resonate with our user base, and watch them turn those requirements into reality. It has also been extremely rewarding to see our early adopters appreciate the functionality that we have developed and confirm that we are taking an approach that will add value to them in ways the competitors will not.
What is your must read business book?
My must-read business book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. It’s not exactly a business strategy type book, but more importantly about expanding one’s horizons and seeing that many of the limits that people put on themselves are self-inflicted. There is a line in the book that everyone must read and it speaks to what the author refers to as “The World’s Greatest Lie”.
Who is your most inspirational CEO or Founder?
I see a lot of Founders and CEO’s that are doing some very interesting things. I’m always most impressed with those who balance razor-sharp business instincts with personal humility. Mark Cuban and Elon Musk both come to mind.
Can you tell us something weird or interesting about yourself?
When I am done with Vacayrx I am going to find a palm tree somewhere in the world to lay under and write a book. I may be wealthy or broke at this point; but the palm tree will be there either way.