By Britney Anderson
There’s something special about family working together, whether it’s in business or in the barn. Pablo Jimenez Godoy and Arturo Ferrando and their families are doing both, joining forces in a new business venture called Staller. The new downloadable application promises to revolutionize the way owners and trainers find and rent stalls for their horses, and it’s run almost entirely by the Ferrando and Godoy families.
Like Airbnb, Staller allows users to browse through photos and compare the offerings at each of the facilities. Users can search by price point, number of stalls, availability and location and can book online with a credit card. As part of the rental, Staller also provides insurance for both the tenant and proprietor, and the new sharing economy is translated in English, Spanish, French and Italian.
“Our families actually met many, many years ago in Venezuela,” said Arturo. “I was just a little boy and Pablo was almost a baby. They became friends, and that’s how Pablo and I met originally.” Both the families were involved in horses and their friendship and future in business seemed predestined.
“My family has been riding horses for basically all my life,” Pablo said. “There hasn’t been a moment when we haven’t had horses. So since I was little, I rode.”
“I started riding when I was 6 years old,” said Arturo. “I used to play tennis before, and on my way home I always spotted the horses in the club. After a few months, my mother decided to take me there to ride my first horse and see if I liked it. Since then, it has become a passion for me, and my whole life I have been surrounded by them.” He began competing in jumpers at 9 years old. “After I started, my entire family started to ride as well — my mother and my sister.”
Pablo and the Godoy family moved to France when Pablo was 8 years old. But when Arturo was 21 and needed a place to go where he could continue his riding career and educational pursuits outside of Venezuela, moving to France became his best option.
“When I was in France, I stayed with the Godoy family for about six months while I was getting set in the country,” said Arturo. “The last time I had seen Pablo, I think he was 4 years old, so France was where we really formed a strong relationship.” Though both Pablo and Arturo studied in France, their paths diverged for several years.
Pablo’s Entrepreneurial Spirit
Starting his own company was something that Pablo always knew he wanted to do. He founded his first startup company, a biometric payment solution provider, while earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business and finance at Ecole Superieure du Commerce Exterieurin Paris. “My father is an entrepreneur,” he said. “He has his own business, which he built. My mother also has her own business. I was going to New York a lot, first as a broker dealer in Wall Street, then I did investment banking and that’s where I got the opportunity to start the biometric payments technology project.”
And that proved to be the beginning of Pablo’s successful career. “I was feeling that I couldn’t go into a big structure where I would not be valued for the work I was doing,” he said. Pablo found that he enjoyed working in technology, and in 2014, he launched WeKanCode (wekancode.com), which provides a group of high-quality engineers who create apps and other software for startups at an affordable price.
Arturo’s Love For Technology
After he moved to France, Arturo continued to ride while he pursued his bachelor’s degree in business administration studies at the Paris School of Business. He moved back to Venezuela after graduating, where he put his riding on hold to launch his career. “We have a family business there in Venezuela, where we design and develop boats. It started getting me interested in the whole design process,” Arturo said.
“I kind of like to take products and create new things around them, because of that experience working with my family’s boat company. And I was always passionate about technology, ever since I was little. I fell in love with apps when I bought my first iPhone: It was something that I enjoyed very much, just downloading apps and reviewing them mentally. I was very, very interested in how everything in technology works.”
Pablo and Arturo hadn’t seen each other for years when they met again in New York by coincidence in 2015. “We went to a bar to catch up, and he told me that he was working on a new startup,” remembered Arturo. “We started brainstorming about ideas. This gave us the opportunity to talk a little bit more about the things we wanted to do with technology, and how we could develop great options and applications that could help people in their daily lives.”
During last year’s show season in Wellington, Pablo and Arturo began talking about other projects. A chance conversation with a realtor made them realize that stalls and barns are still rented out in a very old-fashioned, oftentimes inconvenient and frustrating way. Even Pablo’s aunt, who owns a barn in Wellington and is a partner in Staller, had to lease stalls to a broker, who in turn would lease them to clients. “We knew riders who wanted to come to the Winter Equestrian Festival but they didn’t want to commit to renting a stall for the entire season,” explained Pablo. “Thousands of horses from around the world come to Wellington for the 12 weeks of competitions and they need stalls. We have dressage, show jumping, polo and racing in South Florida, and Staller will give the renter options.”
“We couldn’t find a single company that had any way to make the process of finding and renting stalls easier,” said Arturo. “We saw old-fashioned webpages. You couldn’t pay online, you weren’t able to really look at the barn, and you didn’t have a lot of visibility in general. So we started thinking about how we could improve this business with technology.”
Pablo and Arturo were very familiar with the sharing economy and the success of Airbnb, which makes it easy for people to rent apartments worldwide. “We started thinking about doing the same thing, only for the horses,” Arturo said. “And that’s how Staller was born.”
A Family Affair
The engineering power of WeKanCode at their fingertips coupled with their experience with horses were all Pablo and Arturo needed to make Staller a reality. That’s where their families, who were part of the equestrian community in Wellington, came in. Arturo’s mother is a veteran in the jumper ring and his sister Patricia is a dressage rider.
“They are helping us overall with Staller,” said Arturo, “which is something very interesting because we get along very well. Being able to work in the same business, and around the same shared passion, is something incredible that we enjoy together. We have many, many years of combined experience with horses. For example, I know a lot of things about the jumpers, and Patricia knows a lot about the dressage, so as a team we have better combined experience and we’re making things work in a very good way.”
For more information, visit Stallerapp.com