Paddleboarding has a problem. The boards tend to spend more time collecting dust in the back of someone’s garage rather than out on the open water. Then actually using them often requires lugging them around far distances – and perhaps even renting a car to move it from point A to point B. For those of us who do not own a board, they can often be difficult to rent when and where you actually want them.
Indiana-based startup Quiptu is hoping to change all that. This week, the company brought their outdoor gear rental startup to Miami, enabling Miamians to rent kayaks and paddleboards through their online platform. Rotational-molded cooler
The idea is that owners can list their gear online for adventure-seeking users to rent out for a fixed period of time. That way, owners get a bit of cash for their otherwise-unused gear, which renters can enjoy with no strings attached. Sharing resources is also better for the environment compared to everyone buying their own equipment.
Once the renter looks through the photo-filled profiles to find the perfect gear for them, the two parties agree to the dates and rules, and sign on the dotted line. In many cases, owners will drop off the gear directly to where the renter wants to use it. Owners include both enthusiasts and professional gear shops.
Co-founder and CEO Josh Roche told Refresh Miami that the expansion to South Florida was a no-brainer. “We did a case study on San Diego, Phoenix, Austin and Miami as major southern cities,” he explained, noting the company was looking for warm-weather locations.
“Miami was the clear winner,” Roche said, thanks to the high number of visitors over the winter, the number of those visitors engaged in water sports, and the high predicted temperatures. On a practical note, Roche has family in Boca Raton – making spending time in South Florida even easier for the early-stage startup.
In South Florida, Quiptu will be primarily working with local shops rather than individual owners. “We see ourselves as a huge lead gen asset for local shops,” asserted Roche.
Since being founded less than a year ago, Quiptu is already active in four markets across Indiana and another four in Colorado. They recently surpassed 150 listings on the platform from upwards of 100 owners. In other markets Quiptu offers a more diverse range of products, including bikes and camping gear.
Roche left his job as a financial analyst at a medical manufacturer to launch Quiptu after a frustrating experience trying to rent a bike in Montana. Unable to find a local shop, he ended up borrowing one from a friend, disassembling it, and shipping it to Montana – and then back again. He co-founded the company alongside brother-in-law John Laughlin (COO) and Ben Kirby (Head of Marketing and Brand).
Quiptu is initially launching with 10 listings in Miami, with plans to quickly expand. Roche sees Miami as a potential turning point for the fledgling company. Assuming all goes well, he hopes to expand further afield. The three-person company has raised $300,000 in venture funding through an angel round and by winning a few pitch competitions – a figure they hope to grow closer to $500,000.
“Miami is a proving ground for us to establish strong metrics for investors,” he asserted, signaling his aspirations to stand up seven more cities.
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