History regarding the Founder
Born and raised in Lisbon, Goncalo is a lover of the sea and its surroundings. Like many of the Portuguese, much of their childhood was spent bringing sand from the beach home. Inevitably, at the age of 8, he surrendered to surfing under the influence of his father. The years that followed were marked by an intense relationship with sport, which led him to compete for 5 years nationally and to travel the world, in search of the best conditions. The relationships with nature inherent to the practice of surfing, together with the intrinsic curiosity of his personality, they took him to explore new horizons. In October 2016, Goncalo joined the University of Southampton, where he ended up graduating in Mechanical Engineering in July last year. These years in England not only appealed to nostalgias made of sun and sea but also contributed to an immense professional development. Goncalo ended up developing skills in product development and material analysis that led him to look at the world differently. Today, back in Portugal, Goncalo is combining this learning with a master’s degree in management at Nova SBE and his path begins to bear fruit. Driven by the need of his international academic colleagues, Gonçalo began to rent some of his surfboards to those who were looking for a flexible offer that had not yet existed in the market. The organic dynamics of this informal business led to the creation of what Lisbon Surf Rentals is today. Goncalo is combining this learning with a master’s degree in management at Nova SBE and his path begins to bear fruit. Driven by the need of his international academic colleagues, Goncalo began to rent some of his surfboards to those who were looking for a flexible offer that had not yet existed in the market. The organic dynamics of this informal business led to the creation of what Lisbon Surf Rentals is today. Goncalo is combining this learning with a master’s degree in management at Nova SBE and his path begins to bear fruit. Driven by the need of his international academic colleagues, Gonçalo began to rent some of his surfboards to those who were looking for a flexible offer that had not yet existed in the market. The organic dynamics of this informal business led to the creation of what Lisbon Surf Rentals is today.
How did the idea for this project come about and how many people are involved?
I had several of my boards collecting dust in the garage for some time. I knew it wasn’t an isolated pain. My best friend, who is now a partner at Lisbon Surf Rentals, also suffered from the same problem. By this time Robert Kiyosaki had already taught me through his iconic book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” that asset creation and monetization are the first steps towards financial freedom. I knew that my boards were valuable assets and that many surf schools rented boards daily for absurd values. I then started to develop a business model for board rentals through an online store. However, I ended up falling into the trap of trying to make the business as scalable as possible, making it so complex that it ended up being forgotten on my computer’s hard drive. A few years later, in the first week of classes at Nova SBE, I was confronted with a huge wave of young internationals who regularly came to me looking for advice on surf equipment, as they knew I had local knowledge. I grabbed this opportunity and finally started to sell my assets (aka surfboards). I quickly created an offer adapted to the market where I was inserted (university market) and ended up creating Lisbon Surf Rentals. Currently, Lisbon Surf Rentals is just a sample of what may one day be. We are a team of two people, my partner is in Australia and his intervention is limited. Even so, in just 8 months we were able to reach several dozen students and validate our product. We are taking the first steps to take Lisbon Surf Rentals from a StartUP in the Customer Development.
What makes your company different from others?
Lisbon Surf Rentals offers surfboard rentals in a monthly package format. We mainly focus on short-medium term residents (a large part of our market is made up of international Erasmus students and masters) who are in turn intermediate surfers. This profile seeks to make the most of your stay here in Portugal and evolves in the practice of surfing. However, one does not want to commit to buying a surfboard, since any board will quickly become obsolete due to the surfer’s learning curve. The pain we solved is this: for an intermediate surfer, any board is useful for a short period of time, and regular board changes are essential for faster learning. By offering board rental in a subscription model, we are able to capture value on a constant basis and offer value to the client on an equally consistent basis. Being a member,
What is the area of operation and to which audience is it intended?
We focus on international students and long-term tourism.
What are the challenges they face?
Our biggest challenges at the moment are the lack of capacity for market demand… We still have only about 15 boards available, which is far from serving the number of people looking for our offer. Of course, the current crisis represents a temporary challenge, since during this month of isolation we decided not to charge our subscribers, and many of them returned to their country of origin. However, we have nothing to lose. As I said, only my partner and I are involved, which made adapting to COVID easier.
What are the next steps the company will take?
The next steps will be the initial financing of Lisbon Surf Rentals. I believe that we are ready to realize the parts of our business model that are “on hold” due to the lack of economic resources. This includes the purchase of equipment and legal formalization of the offer.
What was the strategy implemented to keep your company running with the covid 19 pandemic?
As I said, we are not charging our subscribers since surfing is currently prohibited throughout the country. However, we are focusing on strengthening our message and reaching a greater capture of the market to validate our offer and obtain financing.
What advice or warning do you give other companies to overcome this crisis?
In addition to dedicating myself to Lisbon Surf Rentals, I combine my studies with a job in a Data Strategy consultant. My biggest advice for overcoming this crisis would be to focus on customer relations. The world we live in today is very different from the one we lived in 1918 when the Spanish flu affected us. Value creation is more impact oriented and not so focused on shareholders. By looking at the customer as one of the company’s stakeholders, and by giving the customer a role in our organization, we end up reducing the fragility of our relationship and we can count on their support in these crisis phases. So I strongly believe in creating long-term value, which is why I think the monthly subscription model is beneficial since it translates into a more constant relationship in the exchange of value, that is, a firmer pact.
How can we get in touch?