I had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan Frampton.
Ryan Frampton is the Chief Executive Officer of Lendr Inc., a start-up that aims to revolutionize the consumer goods rental industry with their peer-to-peer platform. Before starting Lendr Inc. with his co-founder Drew Mortensen, Ryan had previously started a realtor advertising business that has now helped some of the top realtors around the world increase their success through social media. Now at Lendr Inc. Ryan has led his team of 8 through the process of getting accepted to the CBaSE Hub Incubator program, securing funding, launching their beta, and bringing in their first revenues.
Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?
Not a problem, thank you so much for having me! I’ve always been very entrepreneurial as a kid. For example, when I was about 10 years old I’d go to the Wal-Mart by my house and buy bags of cat food in the clearance section for a $1 each and then go door-to-door around my neighbourhood selling them for $5 each. Therefore, naturally when I was studying at the University of Guelph and realized I was just another broke student I decided to start my own business. Since I knew a bit about advertising, I launched a realtor advertising business, which turned out to be an incredible success. However, I knew I wanted to start something more meaningful and impactful, but still wasn’t sure what that actually was yet. My then-roommate and now co-founder Drew Mortensen was also gaining business experience during this time by operating a successful web design agency. Our two backgrounds were naturally a perfect fit to execute on our vision for Lendr when the idea first hit us. We were in our university house complaining about how much textbooks were going to cost us that semester and looked for solution that would potentially allow us to rent them easily online and to our surprise there were none. So that day we decided to pursue the idea of a peer-to-peer platform that allows users to safely and securely rent and lend products. Every day since then, we’ve been taking as many steps as we can towards where we want to go with Lendr, whether that be building a skilled team or securing strategic partnerships.
Jean: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
At Lendr Inc. we have an unbelievable culture partly because of the values that Drew and myself instilled into our hiring process, but also because of our team members and who they are as individuals. I truly think of our team as a small family and we try our hardest to work as collaboratively as possible everyday. Everyone brings their own unique skill sets and perspectives to the table, which are all incredibly valuable as I believe an organization is only as great as its people. An example of this culture can be found when we were approaching our beta launch date and I noticed some features that weren’t on schedule to be implemented in it. Upon discovering this, nothing had to be said and no one had to be told to do anything. Everyone just knew that having those features in our beta was the only option, as one of our key company values is that we must serve our customers the best we possibly can. So our entire team pulled together, working countless extra hours to successfully meet the deadline that seemed almost impossible.
Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?
At Lendr Inc. we’re currently working on our most exciting project yet! We are launching the full version of our peer-to-peer rental platform for all devices on August 1st, 2018. It will allow our customers to quickly and easily locate, compare, and rent products from people in their area in a safe and secure way like never before. Just a few out of the several features that will allow us to do this are identity verification, security charges, and delivery and pick up. If you’d like to learn more about our platform there is tons of awesome information on our website! www.lendr.info
Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Like many entrepreneurs, I’m constantly reading books to give me an edge over my competition and develop myself as a person. Over the past few years I’ve read many books that have made a serious impact on my professional life, however, there’s one that particularly stood out to me. The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker is a phenomenal book which focuses on teaching you how to do the rights things at the right times. So many people think success comes from doing a lot, but really if you just do a few things at the right time you can achieve the same or even greater success. This lesson has served me extremely well as I started both of my companies while still pursuing my degree full-time. Naturally, I had little time to work with so I had no other choice than to be effective at choosing what I did and when. During one week I had to write three exams for school, pitch for Lendr Inc.’s second instalment of funding, and helped an international company launch their Canadian brand. This may seem impossible to do, but if you prepare for it and do the right actions it can be done with extreme success.
Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
#1 You can’t do it alone: This was learned very quickly in my life as a founder as I had no time when I started my realtor advertising company, so I learned to hire and train employees. Going into Lendr having already learned this was incredible as we completely skipped the step of trying to do it alone and hired on two employees the first few weeks working on the project. There is no point wasting your time doing what you’re bad at, hire people that complement you!
#2 It will take three times as long as you think: When I first started both my companies I had an idea in my head about how long it would take for me to get to a certain point. Whether it is revenue, number of employees or some other metric, it always turned out to take about three times as long as I thought.
#3 You know nothing: It’s better to start tackling any project from a place where you accept that you know nothing. I learned this while building the Lendr beta. As we talked to our potential customers we quickly realized that many of our assumptions were completely wrong. From then on I knew that before we considered anything as “obviously true” it needed to be properly verified.
#4 Everything is going to prevent you from succeeding: Everyone knows about the statistics of start-up success rate and from my experience I verify that it’s extremely hard. You will run into every problem that you think you could potentially run into and ten times more than that. Staying persistent, crafty, and keeping a level head is the only thing that will get you through these hurdles. At the start of Lendr we had absolutely no money and no leverage that we could utilize to hire developers to turn our vision into reality. We must have talked to hundred of software engineers on our campus trying to pitch the idea to get them on board essentially working towards a big idea for no immediate or guaranteed compensation, but eventually it worked out.
#5 But, you can still do it: Hitting all of these obstacles and somehow continuously coming out on the other side has taught me that it can be done. If you’re committed and what you’re doing is sound, you will be unstoppable.
Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
In my eyes, Jeff Bezos is the single person bringing the most value to the world at this time. What he is doing with Amazon is astonishing and I can’t wait to see where he will take it in the next 10 years. I’d love to pick his brain on how he thinks the consumer good consumption supply chain will develop over the next few decades and where he thinks peer-to-peer renting will fit in.
— Published on June 27, 2018