(photo courtesy of The Mill)

A couple of central Indiana entrepreneurs wants people to enjoy the great outdoors and they have developed a business plan to make it more affordable. John Laughlin and Josh Roche won the 2021 Crossroads Idea Competition hosted by Bloomington-based incubator The Mill. Their proposal, WANDR, is a software platform that allows campers to rent gear from other people or rent out their gear when not in use.

Last month, they won the Elevate Nexus Regional Pre-Seed Competition.

Roche says a few startups already exist in the outdoor equipment rental space, but he says none have the same “robust” mechanism to pair owners and renters. Roche compares WANDR to other peer-to-peer platforms, like AirBnB.

The business partners say people who do buy camping gear or other outdoor activity accessories allow the equipment to sit idle in storage for most of the year. But their platform allows those people to connect with others to recoup some of the costs.

Roche is a senior financial analyst at Bloomington-based Cook Medical and Laughlin is an account director at software engineering company Near The Box.