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Floating your boat

Jake McHenry (left) and Ross Larson, co-founders of Float. Courtesy Float

Jake McHenry (left) and Ross Larson, co-founders of Float. Courtesy Float

Float, a new peer-to-peer company based in Minnesota, launched an app that works like an Airbnb to connect boat owners in the state with those interested in renting boats on an hourly basis. Float organizers’ Ross Larson and Jake McHenry told that it is listing pontoons, fishing boats, cruisers and other vessels.

“Some of my favorite memories of Minnesota were being on a lake on a sunny day,” Larson said. “But not everyone has access to a boat or the opportunity to use one. That’s what we want to help them achieve.”

Minnesota has one of the highest levels of boat ownership in the United States, with one out of six resident owning a boat, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

“We made some of our happiest memories on the lakes, soaking up the sun, jumping in the water and making new friends. We founded Float to bring that same experience to everyone,” the pair, who have been friends since first grade, said on their website.

But the two also lamented the fact that many boats sit idle at the dock.

“It was never a matter of if we were going to start a business together, but when,” McHenry said. The two agreed on an initial idea in 2017, and about this time last year they quit their jobs to work on Float full time.

Float started working with owners on lakes around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area last spring, organizing about 25 rentals by the end of the season. The company plans to attend at the Minneapolis Boat Show next week with the hope of recruiting more boat owners, as well as connecting with dealers and marinas.

The partners said they hope to close on a $250,000 seed round before the start of the boating season. They also plan to expand into Wisconsin.

“People love to show off Minnesota’s lakes,” Larson said. “They’re proud of where they live, and they want to share it with others. We want the same thing.”

Larson said the company will donate a portion of each rental to fighting aquatic invasive species in Minnesota.



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