A few years ago, Alyssa Ravasio spent hours searching for a campsite along the California coast to watch the first sunrise of 2013. Ravasio told Techcrunch that it was "absurdly difficult" to find a campground that offered a view of the ocean.
She did end up finding a spot on the beach where she saw spectacular waves — perfect for surfing — except Ravasio didn't have her surfboard with her. The detail about the waves hadn't shown up in her search results.
"Before you can search anything, you have to choose which government agency you want to camp with, then search Flickr photos and Yelp reviews to find out details," she said. "I knew I could solve this problem."
Ravasio's experience happened at a time when nearly one-third of California State Parks were in danger of closing due to lack of revenue. She realized that a new platform might well be what was called for.
After attending a 10-week coding bootcamp, she built the bones of Hipcamp with the goal of connecting more people with nature. The website offers landowners and camp-goers a platform to post and find details about places to pitch a tent or park an RV and enjoy the outdoors.
The website, which functions much like house-sharing platforms, provides photos, reviews, and details about unique features of camping grounds in the U.S., including public parks.
Hipcamp closed an investment round last fall that injected $2 million to build out the site and is currently expanding its listings outside of California.
Photo of camp at Four Springs Farm by Myles Tan.