Years ago, Justine Barone sat successful her car successful Denver, scouring the Internet for a paddleboard rental. It seemed a elemental task, but the paddleboard remained elusive.
That was the infinitesimal Barone embarked connected a travel to recovered Gearo, an online marketplace that connects adventure-seekers with cogwheel from apical retailers to rent and buy.
Now outdoor adventurers similar Barone herself volition person an easier mode to find the instrumentality they request from trusted retailers.
“I had each of these antithetic options and aft implicit an hr calling these retailers and asking for pricing and availability and details, I inactive didn’t person a paddleboard,” Barone said. “I conscionable thought it was benignant of crazy, considering there’s a marketplace for everything else, and determination wasn’t 1 for outdoor cogwheel rentals.”
Development for Gearo began successful 2017, with a afloat motorboat underway by the summertime of 2018 successful Colorado. Now Barone has moved to Chapel Hill arsenic of the past fewer months, and she plans to instrumentality afloat vantage of the Triangle tech startup community.
Gearo operates arsenic a marketplace akin to Open Table, aggregating each of the businesses into 1 presumption for simplified booking processes, Barone said. Customers spell to the site, prime their determination oregon class and wage done Gearo for the cogwheel they rent, with Gearo taking a commission.
More than 200 retailers are already listed connected Gearo.
“Ultimately, there’s 2 goals for Gearo,” Barone said. “The archetypal is to assistance outdoor retailers conscionable widen their scope and beryllium capable to assistance customers adjacent amended than they are present and automate their processes more. And past the 2nd is decidedly helping radical get outside.”
Now consumers are capable to find the cogwheel they’re looking for successful the astir accessible way.
Barone said Gearo has been increasing fast. When the pandemic hit, it accrued the magnitude of radical who privation to bask the outdoors, causing bookings to spell up. But still, Gearo has been wounded by proviso concatenation issues successful the industry, Barone said.
“It’s been a affirmative and a negative,” Barone said. “We were positioned for a batch of maturation coming into 2020, truthful we experienced a batch of growth. Could we person experienced adjacent much maturation had the coronavirus not happened? I perfectly deliberation so.”
Barone’s entrepreneurship communicative is uncommon conscionable by relationship of her gender. Being a pistillate among predominantly antheral tech entrepreneurs means she’s up against much than conscionable the accepted struggles of launching your ain startup. Venture superior concern continues to transportation a salient gender gap. (So acold Gearo has been mostly bootstrapped, though it has a tiny radical of extracurricular investors.)
“If you’re a pistillate founder, the emblematic rules of increasing a startup, a venture-backed startup, don’t use to you,” Barone said. “Unless you went to Harvard oregon worked astatine Google oregon Amazon, the process is not going to beryllium a cleanable process. You request to beryllium arsenic resourceful and scrappy arsenic you tin beryllium and mode much resilient than the men that we’re competing against.”