Why we built Peanut

A new and free Google Chrome extension aimed at simplifying travel decisions. How 3 ambitious friends made lemonade from over a year of crazy lemons.

July 8, 2021

How it started, how it's going

COVID-19 was still rampant, and in a volatile state – as were most of the people suffering from it. Escaping the mundane repetition of life was seemingly out of reach, and yet all most of us could think about was getting to the Amalfi Coast for an undisclosed amount of time. But how?

Fast forward to some random Saturday. It was a sunny afternoon in various parts of the west coast. Brady and I were talking on the phone about why traveling was so convoluted, especially increasingly over the months to come. We both wanted to get out of dodge but had so many questions.

Is the destination even open to US citizens? Do I need a PCR test? What about flight operations? Either way, this info was either hard to find or hard to trust across sources and time-consuming at best.

2021 is the year of worrisome traveling & GTFO

The conversation quickly moved into a new one — ‘Why can’t we make this better?’ It can’t be that hard.

I know the info is out there, it’s just a pain to find and then utlimately trust

Couldn’t we just aggregate from various API’s and collate the data into a single source? How? It would have to reach across OTA’s in some seamless way, probably during a typical booking experience.

What about a layered Chrome extension?

Well, there are only so many ways to layer on top of various sites to pull this data in a contextual, hyper-relevant way. Yea, we might be on to something. Focusing on these top user problems:

  • Flight delays
  • Covid-19
  • Travel restrictions
  • Visas
  • More

Remote life, uncertain times, and the urge to solve a global problem

Holy shit. Wait — we could actually do this. But at what cost? How would it look and work though? We could layer this over top the most trafficked booking sites probably pretty easily/with some finesse/careful planning:

  • Expedia
  • Booking
  • Google Flights
  • More

That’s how it happened.

We brought on an engineering lead, Roy –– and went to work, basically in our spare time. A few alumni from Facebook and Google decided to build something that no one else had. We used a few principles to guide us:

  • Free
  • Trustworthy
  • Timely

Learn even more on our Medium Blog post.

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