The History & Vision of HauntPay
A message from the CEO, Alex Linebrink:
I grew up in a household that celebrated Halloween just a little more than the average family. My father’s birthday was on Halloween, and for some reason it just clicked as a great way for us to spend some good family time together every year. We would decorate like crazy, and I started staying back from holiday festivities with my friends at the young age of 10 because I thought it was more fun to scare trick-or-treaters.
We had a couple simple rules with our Halloween decorations and scaring:
- It was October 31st ONLY.
- We would never charge any money (this was just for trick-or-treat goers afterall).
- It had to be bigger every year.
Within a couple years, we had become a legend in our small farm town, drawing as many as 1,000 people to our “yard haunt” every Halloween. Three other families had had joined in to help with the decorations and scares, and we thought we were pretty big stuff.
Then my father and I went to our first haunted attraction convention (Midwest Haunters Convention, sometime around 2003), and were blown away. We thought we were pretty good at what we did on Halloween, but in the professional haunted attraction world there were giants and wizards that made us look like ants. We made friends and gained perspective, and kept growing our hobby. Every year we would go to new professional haunted houses to see how our scares stacked up. And every year we learned more.
Fast forward: in 2010 I found myself in charge of a payment processing start-up company by the name of Core Merchant. We quickly became profitable working with clients such as Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers in an industry I never thought I’d find myself. We didn’t have a secret sauce; we just did a GOOD job of taking care of our clients.
But without a secret sauce, I began looking for one: for a direction to guide and scale our company. It was then, in 2012, that I remembered my father and I’s hobby in haunting, and the struggles they had in managing technically intense (and expensive) credit card and ticketing systems. I knew we had to build an offering for the haunted attraction industry: something to help them gain access to the same technology as other event-based businesses at a fraction of the cost. Something made for haunters.
- We launched the brand in 2012 by giving away credit card terminals, and scrapping industry-standard multi-year payment processing contracts in favor of seasonal services that a haunted event could use for a single month if they wanted.
- In 2013 we launched an online event ticketing system free of charge to the event organizers and with features made specifically for the haunted attraction world.
- In 2014 we combined the two for the first and only all-in-one online and in-person payments and event ticketing system for haunted attractions.
And it is awesome. We’ve had hiccups along the way like everyone does, but the system we’ve created gives state of the art event ticketing and payments technology to the haunted attraction industry at absolutely no cost to the haunt owner: something that could have only been imagined when we began.
And don’t worry: we’re not stopping there. Stay tuned for even more great technology and features in 2015. We’ve only begun in our quest to equip haunted attractions with scary simple and monstrously powerful payments and event ticketing.