Riding the Waves of Success: An Exclusive Interview with PADL's Visionary CEO, Andres Avello'
Discover the Story Behind the Revolutionary Self-Service Watersport Company, PADL
Interview between Andres Avello, CEO and Parker Lake, Head of Strategic
Partnerships and Tours from PADL. PADL is a self-service watersport company where those interested in kayaking and paddleboarding can use an app to find a self-service station near them, unlock the watercraft of their choice and get on the water! PADL just joined the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce as a new member. So, Andres, what inspired you to start PADL, and what problem were you aiming to solve in the market?
Andres: It all started when Felipe Jauregui, now our COO and Khalil Khouri, now our Chief Product Officer and I felt that there was a market for an on-demand rental kiosk where people can easily get access to paddleboards when they’re near the water. Before PADL people would have to go through the hassle and expense of buying a board, storing the board in their house and strapping the board to their car. Likewise, watersport rental facilities could only set up shop on waterways and beaches with a very high volume of visitors because they had to cover labor costs. By creating a way to securely store the boards/kayaks without staff and an app to unlock them, we were able to solve both of these issues.
Could you share your long-term vision for PADL and how you plan to differentiate
yourself from competitors in the self-service rental space?
Andres: We look forward to expanding our footprint, placing PADL stations on more of Florida’s waterways, lakes and beaches so people have access to the water and can enjoy the natural environment using one of the most eco-friendly modes of water transportation. PADL stands out among self-service rental companies in that we offer both kayaks and paddleboards as well as having the most experience at getting people safely onto the water with no staff present. We’ve been doing it for nearly five years now.
Where do you have locations? Anything on Miami Beach?
Parker: We have 38 stations throughout Florida including 16 in South Florida. We have one station in Miami Beach, in Pine Tree Park, just across the waterway from the Eden Roc and Fontainebleau hotels.
Can you explain the technology behind the self-service kiosks and mobile apps? How does PADL ensure a seamless user experience?
Parker: We have native apps built for iPhones and Android phones and a patented locking system that secures the watercraft to the station when not in use. It all happens automatically through the app which connects a user’s phone to the station. Every board and kayak have a GPS tracking unit in it that lets us know where it is at all times. The whole station is powered by a set of solar panels, allowing us to place stations in some off-the-grid locations. Our municipal partners love it because we don’t have to plug in to the local power supply.
How do you approach business development and partnerships? What strategies do you use to secure locations and attract local partners?
Parker: Municipalities and resorts love working with us as much as we love working with them. It typically costs nothing to install a PADL station in a high traffic area, and we share revenue with the landowner whether they are a city, county or private business.
How do you handle challenges related to equipment maintenance, security, and customer support? What steps are taken to ensure a positive customer experience?
Andres: We have an extensive network of station partners who help manage the kiosks at each station. Each station has a camera and a locking mechanism that secures the boards and kayaks to the kiosk. The first step we take to ensure a positive experience is a strong focus on safety. People only have fun when doing something once they know it’s safe. In app videos on marine safety, personal flotation devices and whistles are pre-mounted on each watercraft, and we have a relationship with Sea Tow should anything go wrong on the water. Parker, you run the guiding program, want to explain how that plays a role in the overall customer experience?
Parker: Sure! We have a pilot program in Miami where a group of PADL approved guides takes people out onto the water on guided tours and lessons. This helps people to “break the ice” and get acquainted with the sport in a safe and guided environment, before going paddling alone.
You’ve recently joined the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. What can we expect from PADL in the coming months?
Parker: We are excited to be Chamber members and look forward to getting to know the other members. We’d love to speak to people in government, hospitality and watersports to see how we can team up to make Miami Beach a better place.
What’s the best way to reach out to PADL if an organization or individual wants to
Parker: If anyone has any ideas about working with PADL to make Miami Beach’s waterways and beaches more accessible to locals and tourists who want to go paddling, then they can reach out to me.