Sun, Sea, and Entrepreneurship

A PADL station with paddleboards for rent rests near a dock in Florida

Jose Lorido MBA’20 lives in Miami. He was raised there as well. That means the ocean has always loomed large in his life. “I do all things outdoors on the water,” he says. “I paddleboard. I kite surf. I fish. I dive. You name it.”

Nowadays, Lorido’s career centers on the water, too. As a partner at PADL, he is in the business of recreation, of sun and sea and relaxation.

Lorido joined PADL, a paddleboard rental company, in 2020, not long after its founding. Similar to bike- or scooter-sharing ventures such as Lime, PADL offers self-service stations where, with the use of the company’s app, customers can rent paddleboards.

Jose Lorido and PADL
Jose Lorido MBA’20 lives in Miami and is a partner in PADL, a paddleboard rental company.

Paddleboarding is an activity growing in popularity, Lorido says, but the boards used are lengthy, so they can be a hassle to store and transport. PADL aims to eliminate those inconveniences, with its stations located right near the water. Renters pay by the hour or purchase a monthly or semi-annual membership. “You want the fun, and this is a healthy way to get out there,” Lorido says. “It is affordable, and it is easy.”

PADL offers 30 self-service locations in Florida, from the Keys to Jacksonville on the east coast of the state, and in the Tampa area in the west. By the end of the year, it plans to push that number to 50 locations.

Lorido enjoys paddleboarding at PADL’s location in Coconut Grove, the oldest neighborhood in Miami, the station situated in Peacock Park, steps from the waters of Biscayne Bay. “You get to paddle around the marina and the bay,” Lorido says. “In the morning, it’s nice and peaceful.”

‘Something Entrepreneurial’

Lorido joined PADL because he wanted to be part of growing a new venture.  “I wanted to do something entrepreneurial,” he says. “It was a good chance to do that.”

Not that PADL is his first brush with entrepreneurship. Lorido earned his MBA at Babson’s Miami campus, where he was part of a startup working on a remote water monitoring system for high-rise residential buildings. The venture was a 2019 B.E.T.A. Challenge finalist. “It helped me understand what it takes to build and grow a business from scratch,” he says. “That entails everything: sales, marketing, operations. It is day-to-day work.”

Before PADL, he worked on the finance team of an expanding cruise company. The job required long hours and lots of travel. “It was our job to grow it,” he says. “I was there for four years, traveling all over the world.”

At the cruise company, Lorido worked closely with Andres Avello, who would go on to co-found PADL and who would eventually ask Lorido to join the company.

Beyond Florida

Lorido is part of an eight-person team at PADL. “We all do a little bit of everything,” he says, though Lorido primarily focuses on growth, sales, and partnerships. PADL’s stations are often located on public property near lakes and bays, so a big part of his job involves meeting with city managers and public officials to obtain space for the stations.

“You want the fun, and this is a healthy way to get out there. It is affordable, and it is easy.”
Jose Lorido MBA’20 of PADL

PADL faces challenges that are common to businesses today, in particular with the supply chain (it can have difficulty locating sufficient materials to make its stations). Still, it is a company moving forward. PADL’s community of paddleboarders is now roughly 35,000 people, and, by the end of the year, the company plans to add kayaks for rent at its stations as well.

Next year, PADL is looking to expand beyond Florida. Turns out that the company’s mission, of allowing people to more easily get out on the water, is a popular one. “People have reached out from all over, including internationally,” Lorido says.

Posted in Entrepreneurial Leadership

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