Menlo Park startup Switchbackr aims to meet your outdoor gear needs cost effectively
Menlo Park native Alex Friedman (Laurel/Encinal/M-A) didn’t go far for college, selecting Stanford. There he became friends with Sasha Landauer. “We met on a surfing trip; we almost drowned,” he recalls. “We should not have been surfing at Pacifica!”
They both worked at finance companies the summer after their junior year but found the work “uninspiring.” So they decided to take a leave from Stanford and start a company that buys and sells outdoor gear.
“I had my bike stolen at Stanford and found it really hard to find a good used one to replace it,” says Alex.
Switchbackr launched just over a month ago with Alex serving as CEO and Sasha heading marketing. Clothing for men, women and children is offered as well as gear. It’s in “mega beta” mode operating in four mid-Peninsula communities: Atherton, Menlo Park, Portola Valley and Palo Alto.
“Outdoor gear is super expensive, and the cost of gear is cited as one of the top reasons people don’t get outdoors,” says Alex. “It’s also super durable and built to last, which is great for re-commerce.”
His focus initially is figuring out the right business model from a cost perspective as he’s already determined that a gear exchange marketplace is fulfilling a need.
“The very first gear pick up was from someone who ws moving and was just going to toss the gear,” he says. “Instead she got some money for it and somebody will get the use of it at a good price.”
Photo of Alex and gear by Robb Most (c) 2021; photo of Alex and Sasha courtesy of Switchbackr