What does your company do?
We make having fun on the water easier and more enjoyable by providing on-demand rentals of inflatable standup paddleboard and kayak hybrids.
What is your background and how did you get into business?
I was born in Volusia County where I completed my undergrad at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Aeronautics. I have an AS in Computer Programming and Analysis from Daytona State College, and I am currently pursuing my MS in Travel Technology and Analytics at the University of Central Florida.
After graduating from Embry-Riddle, I commissioned in the U.S. Navy, where I served five-and-a-half years of active duty. Once I separated, I joined a government consulting firm for a little over two years, where I decided it was time to get back to my passion for watersports and business and founded FLOA.
Being an avid outdoor enthusiast, I have accumulated multiple vessels and equipment types. Transporting these items to different waterways is cumbersome and requires special equipment or larger vehicles. On vacations, when renting from traditional rental shops, I often found myself limited to the spot where they were located to be on the water and often could not reserve anything before visiting the location. Additionally, prices seemed high per hour unless I rented in blocked times (usually four or eight hours). There had to be an easier, more versatile and less expensive way.
What sets your business apart from others?
Unlike most traditional kayak and paddleboard rental shops, we start with user transport in mind. Our boards are designed here in Daytona and are made of highly durable PVC. The fact that they are inflatable means that anyone can now easily transport the boards wherever they want to enjoy them without having any special racks, trailers or large vehicles. Our boards are compact, making them easy to store in hotel rooms or any accommodation rental location. Our prices are a simple flat per hour rate with a low delivery fee. We also offer memberships which allow for even greater savings and perks.
What are your biggest challenges in the company?
Our biggest current challenge in the company is to create a solution that automates rentals. It requires a lot of programming, engineering and testing.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
What I enjoy the most about my job is getting to see people who experience kayaking and/or paddleboarding for the first time.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Understand your market and its needs. Push through as long as you can, but only if there is truly a market need for your product or service. If you have a solution for a real problem, then any difficult times that your business faces will be short-lived compared to the success it will undoubtedly realize.
Which three books from your personal collection would you recommend for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs?
“Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School” by Richard Branson; “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr; and “That Will Never Work” by Marc Randolph.