Entrepreneur Spotlight: Justine Barone, GEARO

Meet Justine Barone, CEO of GEARO. After launching her startup in Colorado, Barone returns to the Triangle with full intention to leverage our ecosystem resources to scale. GEARO is gaining traction with an online marketplace they built for outdoor enthusiasts and has partnered with CED to get support along the way. Help us give her a proper welcome and learn more about what she is doing, here.  

GEARO is a SaaS-Enabled outdoor gear marketplace that aggregates retailer inventory for rent and for sale and connects its products with adventure seekers looking to participate in an outdoor activity. GEARO simplifies the outdoor activity process with an intuitive shopping experience that minimizes confusion and frustration. With over 200 outdoor retailers on the marketplace to date, they are the best destination for adventure seekers looking for outdoor gear rentals.

What problem are you solving?  

GEARO is trying to solve access and ease-of-use in the outdoor gear rentals space.There are many barriers to entry that exist in outdoor activities like skiing, kayaking, biking, and camping. One of the largest challenges is that the gear needed for the activity is not easily accessible. Consumers essentially have two options to equip themselves for their activities; buy or rent. When buying, consumers spend thousands of dollars to purchase outdoor gear. An entry-level ski setup costs upwards of $2000, where a mountain bike is $1500+. More advanced models range from $3500 up to $10,000 for a top-of-the-line dream bike. The gear is not only expensive but also requires a significant amount of storage space when purchased. Models change, require maintenance, and technology is rapidly changing, leaving a rather discontented buyer after a season or two. Renting is less cost-prohibitive, however, the process is notorious for being frustrating and time-consuming. Manual processes exist in outdoor retailers’ operations and many still use pen and paper or excel to manage their rentals. Retailers also have little awareness of their inventory and do not usually have the ability for consumers to book online. Consumers end up manually reserving the gear by calling ahead to find the best option for themselves or walking into the store, hoping the right size is still left on the shelf. None of these options are great, however, there are many opportunities where the process can be improved.

Tell us your team?

GEARO is a minority and female-owned business. The GEARO team has the ability to speak many languages, making the company a vibrant success. From connecting with other booking providers and working through custom JavaScript, to closing deals with retailers and helping their customers choose a piece of gear, we’re fluent in all of the ways we need to communicate. We’ve hand-selected each department head, optimizing the tech, operations, marketing and sales departments so that we have knowledgeable and educated leaders that will help GEARO continue to grow.

  • Justine Barone; CEO: Startup Veteran; 10+ years of scaling successful startups from zero to 8 figure businesses. Brokered the acquisition for her most recent company to a $12M+ exit.
  • Roman Kandirovskiy; Head of Operations: Excels at streamlining processes, onboarding,  troubleshooting, and maintaining the best possible customer experience. Previously a Financial Analyst for a REIT and Municipality.
  • Dana Lenhoff, Sales Manager: Vigilant ABC’er – Dana will Always Be Closing. Dana thrives in retailer communications and is forward-thinking, driven and has a successful track record of hitting quotas.
  • Temani Afif; Full Stack Engineer: Full-stack developer; specializing in Java environments.

What type of resources are you looking for?

We are hoping to connect with more Entrepreneurs in the South, Mentors who have experience scaling marketplaces and Investors who want to participate in our Seed Round. 

How can the startup ecosystem help you? 

Coming from Denver, I can say that the startup ecosystem is a key component for a Founder to learn and grow throughout the startup journey. Entrepreneurs and mentors can be incredibly valuable for advice about their past experiences. Without the Founders and Mentors I currently have, we would not have been able to grow as quickly as we are.  

Learn more about GEARO here.

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