Chatting with Laurent co-founder of SamBoat

It all started with a goal to chat to entrepreneurs over 60. Then out of curiosity we decided to talk to entrepreneurs under 30. We believe these two very vast generations can learn and grow from each other. 

Co-founders Laurent Calando and Nicolas Cargou

This week we visit France and chat with Laurent Calando who is co-founder of Sam Boat a business that puts private boat owners and potential renters in touch.

Can you tell us a little about your business and what you do?

I am Laurent Calando, Samboat’s co-founder. SamBoat puts private boat owners and potential renters in touch in an easy, friendly, and safe manner. Similar to how Airbnb connects people with apartments, boat owners list their boat for free on the website. Owners can pick when and to whom they want to rent their boat, according to the applicant’s profile, request, and comments.

Its a win-win situation, thanks to Samboat, sailors have access to a vast offering of boats everywhere in the world, for rates on average 30 percent cheaper than the traditional market. Its making boat rental more affordable while helping owners to reduce their maintenance cost

What motivated you to start your own business?

It all started when I, realised that my boat was too expensive to maintain and I was using it less than two weeks a year. During this time, I was working in Paris and I met Nicolas Cargou, the future co- founder. I was planning to sell my boat but Nicolas convinced me to rent it instead.

However, no website was in place to help me rent my boat. By digging a little bit further, we discovered that I was not the only person with an expensive and little used boat. Hence, Samboat was born.

What were some of the struggles you faced when you first started?

When we first started, we faced two main difficulties. The first one was to convince boat owners to rent their boats. They had a lot of skepticism. Indeed, it was all new at this time ! We had to explain to them, all the benefits they could receive from boat rentals.

The second difficulty was to find an insurance to cover all the risks. At first we had nothing but once we started to gain traction and had a strong product-market fit, Insurance companies were all ears with us.

What do you like most about having your own business?

Lot of things, its hard to chose ! Well, one thing that I do enjoy is during summer. I see thousands of people having the best time of their life sailing on a boat through Samboat. They send us postcards or messages and text, and it makes me really happy.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Believe in yourself.

Who is an older person that you admire and why?

Jack Ma, Alibaba’s CEO, because he failed so many times before running his company ! He has been rejected from 30 different jobs, even from KFC…

He showed to the world that everything is possible with persistence.

If you could jump into a time machine what era would you visit and why?

Without hesitation, I would choose Pompeii (before the eruption though), because it was a gorgeous city with an interesting and smart way of living.

Anything else you would like to add?

Launching your own business is a fantastic adventure. You’ll face numerous difficulties and you’ll need to be resilient. However its worth it. Within three years after launching Samboat, Forbes named us the world leader in this highly competitive market. We are in Hyper-growth, currently expanding our business worldwide and the coming years are looking great !