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Meet Jackie Baumgarten, Endeavor Entrepreneur and CEO of Boatsetter. Boatsetter combines the rental mechanics of Airbnb with the on-demand labor dynamics of Uber to deliver a hassle-free boat rental experience for all stakeholders. Its peer-to-peer boat sharing platform connects individuals seeking a day out on the water with boat owners and captains looking to charter their goods and services.
Jackie spoke with Endeavor Global about her experiences as an entrepreneur and growing Boatsetter.
Jackie, tell us a little about what inspired you to start Boatsetter?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs going back a number of generations. Since I was a little girl, I had always foreseen myself launching my own company one day.
In my education and early work experience, I deliberately set out to learn what I had to to fulfill my dream of being a successful entrepreneur. After college, I did the grueling NYC consulting thing at PWC and IBM, then went to Stanford business school, then spent a number of years as a commercial real estate developer with Westfield and was in healthcare with Davita. In both of those latter two companies, I played the role of an “Intrapreneur”, launching new ventures under the umbrella of those corporations – learning the basics of launching a startup within those sandboxes. In my mid-thirties, I decided I had developed the core skills and network I needed to successfully get started as an entrepreneur.
In 2012, I took time to focus on doing the research to figure out what business I wanted to launch. I decided I wanted to launch an internet marketplace. I knew marketplaces were notoriously difficult businesses to launch, where the strength of the company’s operations tend to play a particularly large role in the success or failure of the venture. Over the previous decade in the corporate world, I had trained up as a skilled operator and I believed that I would have my strongest advantage in a sector whose challenges played to my greatest strengths.
About the same time I decided I wanted to launch an online marketplace, two of my brothers each mentioned to me within the space of a few days that they were considering getting rid of their boats, since they were costing them fortunes, and were using them just a few days each year. I naively asked them why they didn’t just rent them out to cover their costs. They told me how that was impossible, since renting out their boats would void their recreational insurance coverage, and getting commercial coverage was prohibitive for such occasional rentals. Right there, the idea for Boatsetter dawned on me.
Boats are some of the most costly assets people own while also being one of the least utilized. Amazingly, most private boats are used fewer than 14 days a year. At the same time, boating is one of the most desired and popular pastimes in the country. I realized that if I could solve the insurance problem, I’d be creating a whole new industry – peer-to-peer boat rental.
I spent the next six months putting together the world’s first P2P insurance policy with the top experts in the field and with that, peer-to-peer boat rentals and Boatsetter was born!
What does having an impact as an entrepreneur mean to you? What is your vision for the impact you’d like to have?
I really love creating something that didn’t exist before that serves a need that was out there but hadn’t been perceived as something that was possible to solve.
I thrive on building a strong and distinctive culture in my teams where everyone is excited to lock arms and fight to succeed in achieving our common goal. There is little that fills me with more pride than watching my teams grow in their skills, capabilities, and collaboration and succeed wildly at what we’ve all set out to do.
What do you value most about your team?
We hire people who want to grow personally and professionally and be part of a motivated, mutually-supporting, inspired team. I value their intellectual curiosity and their drive to learn about the things that we as a team don’t yet know. I deeply value my team members’ willingness to go above and beyond for one another and for our company and to seek out ever greater responsibility and challenges in their own pursuits of growth and excellence.
What’s one thing you’ve learned from your employees? From your captains or boat owners?
Do you have any favorite stories about your work life?
One of my favorite stories of personal and professional growth, of enthusiasm, engagement, motivation and hard work is that of our own John O’Keefe. John started as a young dockhand, then moved himself into sales. Before too long, he was running inside sales. In order to excel at his job by understanding what was selling best, he taught himself how to code SQL so he could mine our databases for insight. When we found out he had done all this of his own volition, we sent him off to training for data science, and now he’s our Data Scientist. This is the kind of intellectual curiosity, creativity and self-motivation we look for, encourage, and reward.
What is the most important way Endeavor has helped Boatsetter?
How has Endeavor impacted you as an Entrepreneur?
Endeavor’s #HerImpact series is part of our ongoing commitment to increase gender diversity within the Endeavor network. #HerImpact is devoted to elevating the voices, sharing the perspectives, and showcasing the professional expertise of women in Endeavor’s global network. Learn more about how you can get involved with Women in High Impact Entrepreneurship at Endeavor here: endeavor.org/whie
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