Sarah Smith is the founder of The Dyrt. Her mission? “Making it easy and enjoyable to find campgrounds for everyone.” Founded in 2013, The Dyrt is the leading campsite review platform for over 15,000 U.S. campsites.
With its easy-to-use interface, opportunities to earn points (and win prizes!), and unbeatable price — free! — The Dyrt has become the go-to resource for making sure the night’s campsite offers the amenities, recreational opportunities, and beautiful views that all of us crave.
Sarah wrote a piece for us on The Dyrt a year ago, and it’s amazing how much the site and community has grown since then! This summer, she’s a finalist in the 2016 OIWC Pitchfest…but here’s an inside peek into Sarah and her start-up, before she hits the stage and makes her pitch in Salt Lake.
What inspired you to found The Dyrt?
Sheer frustration from not being able to get an idea of what a campground was like before I got there. The average camper camps 4 times a year so you want that experience to count and not spend the weekend in a site next to the pit toilet or the highway. Unless you happen to like that.
What has your experience been like, so far, as a female entrepreneur in the outdoor industry?
There aren’t a lot of us out there, especially in the tech start up world, so organizations like the Telluride Venture Accelerator and OIWC really make a difference. It’s nice to connect with other female entrepreneurs.
Why did you decide now was the moment to apply for Pitchfest? What are you hoping you and The Dyrt will gain from the Pitchfest experience?
We just launched our new site on June 1, and we’re really proud of what we are doing in the outdoor space. We now have over 11,000 users generated campground reviews and photos, and it has been amazing to watch the momentum build. We are looking to fill our last board spot with an experienced leader in the outdoor community and we feel like Pitchfest can help us achieve this goal.
By the end of this summer, we will have more user generated campground reviews than any website out there. We are lining up our 2017 brand partners now and launching an even bigger campground review submission contest for next year. Next year, we want The Dyrt to be the first place outdoor enthusiasts go when looking for a campground online.
And what has the mentorship side of Pitchfest been like, for you?
It’s been going great. It’s a very supportive group, and I’ve met with a mentor and practiced my pitch and just did a run through of my pitch with 3 of the other companies this morning, so that all has been great!
What’s the best adventure you’ve been on recently?
We recently spent some time near the Washington coast and discovered amazing hikes in the Olympic National Forest and peaceful calm along the coastal bays. Just what was needed in the frantic world of a start up!
What is your spirit biome?
A lake in the woods. (My Minnesota roots are showing!)
In a sentence, what’s your perfect day outdoors?
Waking up Nehalem Falls Campground in Oregon on a site along the river, followed by a beautiful coastal hike at Oswald West State Park, ending the day with fresh oysters and a beer at a nearby marina while overlooking the bay.