There’s something special about family working together, whether it’s in business or in the barn. Pablo Jimenez Godoy and Arturo Ferrando, both originally from Venezuela, along with their families are doing both, joining forces in new business venture called Staller. They have launched a new downloadable application that promises to revolutionize the way owners and trainers find and rent stalls for their horses, and the Ferrando and Godoy families run it almost entirely.
Like airbnb, Staller allows users to browse through photos and compare the offerings at each of the facilities in English, Spanish, Italian and French. They can search by price point, number of stalls, availability and location and can book online with a credit card.
“Our families actually met many, many years ago in Caracas, Venezuela where I was born,” said Arturo. “I love my country but unfortunately, and this is a personal opinion, it hasn’t offered the political/economic/social environment needed for my projects. Hopefully this will change in the future. The US is a country that simply opened its doors for me since the beginning and I felt comfortable knowing that no matter what some people think about immigration this nation will always be open to foreigners who wish to work hard for their dreams.”
Both Arturo and Pablo’s 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 remembered. “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,” explained Arturo. “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 that 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. When Arturo was 21 and needed a place to go where he could continue his riding career and educational pursuits outside of Venezuela, he decided on France.
While Arturo was pursuing his own goals, Pablo 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 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 WeCanKode, which provides a group of high-quality engineers who create apps and other software for startups at an affordable price.
After he moved to France, Arturo continued to ride while he pursued his bachelor 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 first 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.”
“Partnering with someone can be really stressful and the difference between success and failure,” explained Arturo. “Pablo and I are always on the same page when it comes to business and personal goals. We are both daydreamers and that has always been the spark in all of our projects. Our friendship and partnership are drama-free and that’s the key.”
During last year’s show season in Wellington, Pablo and Arturo began talking about other projects and the thousands of equestrians and their horses that come to the area each winter. “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.” They plan to add options nationally in the months to come.
The two Millennials 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 basically how Staller was born.”
With the engineering power of Pablo’s tech team at his company WeKanCode (www.wekancode.com) at their fingertips and with their experience with horses the duo had all they needed to make Staller a reality. That’s where their families, who were part of the equestrian community in Wellington, Florida, came in. Arturo’s mother is a veteran in the jumper ring and his sister Patricia is a dressage rider.
“I really like the fact that it’s with horses because they have been part of my life forever,” said Pablo. “But I think that what has impacted me more is the ability to actually create this project with Arturo’s family. We’ve always been very close, after he lived in my house in France. We have been friends for a very long time. And this project is not only Arturo and I, but our families together who are also very close. So I think that’s the best part of it: it’s a great project, it has a great business opportunity, and it’s related to horses which both families care a lot about, but more than that the business is run by the two families.”
They now spend their time between Wellington and New York City, while traveling to South America and Europe often to gear up for their international launch. While they are focused on horses with their business, the two have left their equestrian pursuits behind for now. “We don’t compete against each other in the show ring,” laughed Arturo. “But we do box together sometimes, great stress-release therapy and a good time to solve any differences between us!”
The app will be available for iOS in mid-December. The Android version is still being developed, but should be out shortly after the iOS debut. The app and web portal at www.stallerapp.com will allow property owners to list homes with barns or stalls for rent, and tenants to search based on their needs and budget.