Client case study: the ‘Airbnb of camping’

Smpl Team

22 Dec 2022

The Client


A digital start-up founded by entrepreneurs (and former teachers) Heidi Uhlgren Gudmestad and Silje Bjelland.

Project summary:

  • Our business advisory service helped shape Campall’s strategy and tactics for its SaaS business
  • Our super-fast prototyping service – which included designing the look and feel of the product – delivered a clickable prototype in five days, giving the Campall team a clear vision of what they should do with their product
  • The result: armed with a clear plan and a tangible asset, Campall had the clarity and credibility to take their idea out to investors and customers, long before their product was built
  • What did the client think? ‘We needed to find people we could rely on and Smpl were the perfect partners. You really wanted us to succeed, believed in us, and delivered exactly what we needed. We will work with you again!’ Heidi Uhlgren Gudmestad
Campall founders Heidi Uhlgren Gudmestad and Silje Bjelland holding a 'We Love Camping' sign
Heidi and Silje spreading the good word…

The Big Idea

Do for camping what and Airbnb have done for hotels by creating a one-stop digital shop for customers to plan and book their trips, while giving campsite owners a single trusted sales platform.

The Problem 

Campall co-founder Silje says that if you like camping and want to book a trip it’s very difficult to find what you need.

‘If you want to go camping, you can’t go to one place to look at different campsites and compare quality, cost, and availability, and you can’t check the weather or maps, or anything like that.’

‘This is just as much a problem for campsite owners looking to get customers,’ fellow co-founder Heidi adds. ‘On top of that, this is an industry that’s not used to tools like this. Some are still writing guest bookings into a book, while others are paying large sums to booking facilitators.

‘So, Campall has to be easy, safe, friendly and secure for campsite owners and guests,’ she says. ‘Simplicity is very important; our solution has to work for everyone from pensioners to the very youngest customers.’

The Solution

Campall took advantage of two of Smpl’s core offers:

  • Expert business advice
  • 5-day prototyping

Our relationship started with the Campall team meeting with members of our business advisory board, including Lasse Andresen.

Lasse, our start-up expert, has created several businesses himself, including ForgeRock, which became a unicorn (with a $2.8bn valuation) when he floated it on the New York Stock Exchange last year. 

His background and experience made him perfectly placed to offer advice on Campall’s vision, strategy and tactics.

“You gave us exactly what we need to stand out in this industry”

Heidi Uhlgren Gudmestad, co-founder of Campall

Feeling the magic

‘Lasse was great,’ said Heidi. ‘He’s done such amazing things, but he was very down to earth and he gave us wise and smart advice.

‘He covered everything from a step-by-step guide to building a SaaS company, to how to approach and deal with investors.’

Following these discussions, it was time to get Campall’s clickable prototype built, a process led by our Head of Design, Andreas Melvær.

“It was lovely working with Andy,’ Silje says. ‘He was so engaged and he really wanted us to succeed. When we were together in workshops, we really could feel the magic happening – we got so many ideas and it’s given us a really good idea of what our first MVP (minimum viable product) needs to be.’

‘And the design work really pops!’ Heidi adds. ‘It gives you an outdoor feeling – the sense of coming to Campall to do something fun and healthy. It’s exactly what we need to stand out in the industry.’

Campall founders Heidi Uhlgren Gudmestad and Silje Bjelland sitting by a lake at sunset
We wonder why Heidi and Silje like camping so much…?

‘The prototype gives us more credibility with investors’

Having a prototype – and getting it fast – made a big difference to Campall.

‘The clickable prototype was helpful because our ideas were suddenly alive in front of us,’ says Heidi. ‘We could see how it would function from the start, we could see what would work and what wouldn’t, and make adjustments.’

‘Having a clickable prototype really impresses investors,’ Silje says. ‘It looks real, it looks like we are serious, and it gives us credibility. The proof is there we aren’t just talking about this – we are doing it.’

‘The prototype clearly shows how the guest and owner flows will work and that makes it much easier for us to onboard customers on the owner side,’ she adds. ‘It means we can sell to the campsite owners in advance, which is crucial while we get the platform built’.

The big question

What did Campall think of working with Smpl…?

‘We loved it and we’re sad we’re finishing,’ says Heidi. ‘You guys made what we’re doing feel important. You’ve really joined us in taking ownership of the product and the ideas.’

The feeling is mutual, says our Head of Design, Andy, who worked closely with the Campall team.

‘Campall gave us the job of taking something that can be very complicated today and making it much easier for campsite owners and customers. 

‘Making something hard into something simple is what we do best,’ he adds. ‘They are people who have experienced a problem and have a real desire to solve it. 

‘It was a pleasure working with them and helping them on their journey.’

If you are creating something brilliant from scratch, or looking to build and improve on what you’ve already got, we’d love to hear from you.
You can drop our MD Andreas an email here, or leave us a message and we’ll come straight back to you.

Latest blog