Danny Vaughton

I’d say to myself as I looked so lazily down at the sea: There’s nobody else in the world, and the world was made for me. Co-founder of @Washboxapp / @Ignite100

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Introducing Smarthosts.org

Dear VR Weekly readers,

I’ve worked in the vacation rental space for over two years, building technology to help owners and managers take control of their hospitality business — and in the last 6 months we’ve built websites for 3,000+ properties and have transacted several million pounds.

I’m experiencing first hand the explosive growth of the vacation rental industry, predicted to be worth $169 billion by 2019 (ref). With huge marketplaces like HomeAway and Airbnb leading the way, the landscape is changing.

As I see it, owners and managers can either

1. Sit back

Accept marketplace dominance and relinquish control over their business. Easy option but success and failure is out of their hands.

2. Grab the bull by the horns

Use marketplaces as a tool but stay in control through building a brand and taking direct bookings. Hard work but success is not dictated by another company.



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Startup mistakes #1

This post was originally written on the 15th of May, 2015.

Below is a list of startup mistakes I compiled for myself over the last 18 months, which eventually ended with us losing our investment and selling the company. They may seem obvious and cliche, however, with a pinch of bad luck I believe them to be true.

Build the absolute minimum (in the beginning)

I spent far too long building Washbox, with no idea of what people wanted. Our MVP probably stood for max viable product. Down the road, I was less open to making important changes.

Be open to change

Following my first point, tunnel vision prevented us from successfully pivoting to a leaner business model and differentiating ourselves from the competition. When you’re young, you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up.

Don’t copy

Our idea originated from an American startup who had already raised a significant round...

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