Welcome Recreation Rentalz! This membership spotlight features Jeremy Millian, the co-founder and CEO of Recreation Rentalz.
What services does your company offer?
From snowmobiles to kayaks, Recreation Rentalz is your personal mobile rental service. The app makes it easy for customers to rent all types of recreational vehicles - dirt bikes, ATVs, RVs, boats, jet skis, motorcycles, kayaks, snowmobiles, and everything in between.
Recreation dealers benefit from increased exposure and a streamlined management platform for rentals. Following enrollment, dealers receive a free welcome kit that includes everything they need to get started: a tablet with all your information pre-installed, marketing materials, a how-to-guide, and customer service assistance to ensure everything is set up perfectly.
Consumers can contact dealers directly through the app. After an ID verification, users can start searching for their next adventure! In the short-term, Recreation Rentalz is available to consumers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois. The company plans on expanding beyond the Midwest in time. Download the app or contact your local rental location to get started.
Why did you start your company? How has the company evolved?
The company was co-founded by Jeremy Millian and Brad Behrens. The two met while working at Burtness Chervolet Buick GMC of Whitewater. While on a trip to Las Vegas NV, the two used the Turo app to rent a Porshe for a day trip to Hoover Dam. This experience sparked an idea, “Why isn’t there an app like Turo for recreational vehicles?”
In March 2018, the two founded their corporation, opened a bank account, began their research, and connected with the Whitewater University Innovation Center. The company joined the Whitewater University Innovation Center in May 2018.
The iOS app was released May 1st 2019. The website application is a work-in-progress and will be released in the future. Shortly after, the Android app will follow.
Who is the team?
Brad and Jeremy co-founded Recreation Rentalz in March 2018. From a day-to-day operations standpoint, Jeremy serves as the CEO and receives additional support from two full-time sales representatives and a sales intern.
Jeremy graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater in 2017 with a Bachelor of Business in Marketing with a Professional Sales emphasis. Jeremy worked at a local marina for 5 years and then moved on to serve as Business Manager at Burtness Chervolet Buick GMC of Whitewater for three years.
Throughout his career, Jeremy continued to pursue his entrepreneurial dream of becoming his own boss. Recreation Rentalz is the third venture he has founded. Through the previous ventures, Jeremy learned many lessons – the dangers of growing to fast and the importance of being selective for the founding team.
What is your favorite thing about your job and/or the company?
Jeremy has always loved the outdoors and recreational activities! He is a Whitewater local and grew up near Whitewater Lake. His childhood is filled with memories of 4-wheeling, dirt bikes, and boating on Whitewater Lake. His first job was at the JNT Marina serving Whitewater Lake. With a passion for the outdoors, Jeremy can now share his passion with others and enable others to experience similar adventures.
Why do you work out of an incubator? And more importantly, why the Whitewater University Innovation Center?
The Whitewater University Innovation Center was the perfect solution for a startup founded by two locales. Jeremy was able to work an 8-12-hour shift at the dealership and then head over to the Innovation Center to work on Recreation Rentalz. By working out of an incubator, the co-founders were also able to minimize overhead while acquiring office space, a reputable address, and professional meeting space. As Jeremy said, “You get a lot for your money” at the Whitewater University Innovation Center.
Despite these motivators, the primary motivator was the potential for collaboration. Recreation Rentalz reached out to the Whitewater University Innovation Center for a list of app developers. After several meetings, it was clear Iron Forge Development was the best fit. Today, Iron Forge Development and Recreation Rentalz share a suite.
Additionally, the resources and talent available through the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater was an added benefit. UW-Whitewater is a great school and Jeremy recently hired his first student intern.
Have you collaborated or partnered with other clients at the Innovation Center?
Recreation Rentalz partnered with Iron Forge Development to develop their software. Iron Forge Development has released the iOS app and website. The web application and android app is still in development.
Additionally, Jeremey shares the suite with a previous classmate, Chris Roche, founder of RecruitChute. The two have found the shared space to be mutually beneficial. Jeremy has countless sales experiences and tips to share, while Chris provides guidance on social media and promotion strategies.
What was your company's latest and greatest achievement?
The company’s latest and greatest achievement was the release of the iOS app May 1st, 2019. As with any startups, there were challenges along the way. In a perfect world, the startup would have launched last year. Initially, the idea was to create a peer-to-peer rental system similar to Airbnb. However, the necessary insurance posed a road block for lean startup. Recreation Rentalz pivoted from a peer-to-peer model to a business-to-consumer model to start. The pivot in the business model required changes to the software and delayed the launch date.
What inspires you to keep going, pursuing your dream?
The sense of ownership is unparalleled and continues to inspire Jeremy to keep going, pursuing his dream. He loves being his own boss! As Jeremy explained, “You can only get so far working for someone else.” As a business owner, not only are the possibilities endless, but he is also able to help other build their career.