The former consultant who launched the ‘Airbnb of yachts’ says she got her business idea after a taking a 6-month sabbatical — and watching her brothers struggle to sell their boats

Jaclyn Baumgarten founded Boatsetter in 2012.

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Jaclyn Baumgarten founded Boatsetter in 2012.
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Courtesy of Boatsetter

Jaclyn Baumgarten initially set out on a path that she viewed as “obligatory” and traditional: After graduating from college, she moved to New York City to work in strategy management consulting.

“It taught me a lot about the challenges companies face and how to solve them – but I got really tired of providing recommendations and not getting to be part of the hands-on solution,” Baumgarten told Business Insider. She attended Stanford Graduate School of Business and worked until she “built the skillset and confidence to know that it was time for [her] to do something for [herself].”

Then, she gave herself six months off to figure out how she could “converge passion with business.”

The realization happened quickly: Baumgarten’s happiest childhood memories involved cruising on Lake Michigan with her brothers, who, at the time of her sabbatical, were looking to sell their boats. Their infrequent use of the boats just wasn’t enough to justify the high cost of their upkeep – and it got her thinking about solutions.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing to make these experiences affordable and accessible to anyone?” she asked.

Baumgarten also took note of the success of companies like Airbnb that “help people monetize underutilized assets.” If her brothers could safely rent out their vessels on an Airbnb-type platform, they wouldn’t have to sell and so many others would enjoy the experience of boating, too.

With over 17,000 available boats, there are many rental options. They also typically come with a captain.

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With over 17,000 available boats, there are many rental options. They also typically come with a captain.
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Courtesy of Boatsetter

With this mindset, Baumgarten founded Boatsetter in 2012. Now, the Boatsetter platform rents over 17,000 boats in over 600 locations worldwide, making it the largest boat-sharing platform in the US.

Baumgarten was named to Inc.’s top female founders list this year alongside women like Magnolia’s Joanna Gaines and Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd.

Baumgarten isn’t the only woman who quit her day job to start a successful business

Liz Wessel, the CEO of WayUp, a job search platform for college students, left her job at Google after just two years there. She quit in 2014 to pitch potential WayUp investors. Now, the platform connects more than 20,000 employers with qualified early career applicants.

Wessel told Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz that the leap requires thick skin: “You need to be OK with failure, and you certainly need to be someone who can pick themselves up after a failure immediately.”

Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg at work.

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Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg at work.
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Sarah Jacobs

Similarly, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, both news producers, left their jobs at NBC in 2012. They went on to launch theSkimm from their couch. The now widely read newsletter has over 7 million subscribers and even got 100,000 people to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.

During a 2017 episode of “Success! How I Did It,” Zakin and Weisberg told Business Insider’s US editor-in-chief Alyson Shontell about the difficulty leaving steady jobs.

“Quitting our jobs, it was the scariest day of our life. That was not easy,” Weisberg said. “But those first months, we only got through it because we didn’t have a backup plan.”