Planning a ski trip, but don’t own skis? Perfect afternoon for a paddle, but have no SUP? Coming to Bren reunion weekend and have no outdoor gear? No fear. StokeShare is here.
While Bren students work hard to create solutions for environmental problems, a Brennie would not be a Brennie if they didn’t also have an inexplicable affinity for the outdoors. Let’s face it. They know how to play outside. And Bren alum Joel Cesare (MESM 2012) is no different. Since graduating Bren in 2012, Joel, along with partners Warren Neilson and Chris Freeman, have launched StokeShare, an online platform for renting and sharing outdoor gear. Their mission is simple. Own less. Do more. Share stoke.
Joel first met co-founder Warren while they were working in the green building industry in the Bay Area. Despite their common interests in natural building materials and efficient lighting, the two instead bonded over surfing San Francisco’s famous break at Ocean Beach, and it did not stop at surfing. Cesare says, “We talked a lot about action sports we had always wanted to try: kite surfing, whitewater kayaking, spearfishing.” These sports were gear-intensive, though, and in reality, fitting a kayak into a small San Francisco apartment already loaded with three surfboards just wasn’t feasible. “So we decided to solve our own problem. We created StokeShare.”
StokeShare hopes to remove some of the barriers that keep people from interacting with their environment; cost, storage, and transportation of gear no longer need inhibit individuals from engaging with the outdoors. Simultaneously, the company promotes an inherent sustainability by reducing consumption. “We feel StokeShare contributes at a deeper level,” says Cesare. “As we help grow the number of people who love outdoor activities, we aim to grow a greater awareness for environmental protection. [As] Warren loves to say, ‘people protect what they love, love what they know and know what they experience.’”
Where the concept of renting gear to strangers may have sounded foreign at one point, in the age of airbnb, Lyft, Uber and Taskrabbit, the sharing economy has created a new normal for addressing an individual’s unmet needs. “We have a huge interest from renters, so we need more users to post their gear,” says Cesare. “But this is happening. We are growing everyday.” With gear listed in over 10 cities and 3 countries, Cesare believes that there is no limit to their expansion.
As the Bren Alumni reunion approaches, we are excited to share some stoke. So whether you’re a Santa Barbara resident, a visiting, alum, or a Bren affiliate, we encourage you to check them out. Share you gear. Build the network. And don’t forget, share your stoke.