An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Zach Hatraf, the founder and operator of Anchor, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Anchor – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
Sadly, my best friend was killed in a drunk boating accident at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. I started Anchor in his memory with the goal of revolutionizing and modernizing boat & yacht rentals by making it easier for boat owners and licensed captains to collaborate, connect, and share their assets with the world.
Today, we have helped more than 20,000+ guests create unforgettable memories on the water while staying safe and worry-free. We are glad to report that we have never had an injury or incident (knocks on wood).
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
I think the biggest hurdle for us (and any entrepreneur) is the sheer volume of hurdles. I don’t mean that to sound like a cop-out answer, but the truth is, many businesses fail due to “death by a thousand cuts”.
If I had to think back on a single hurdle that really set us back, I would have to say it was the time we lost a $1M investment due to a miscommunication. To briefly sum it up, we put the cart before the horse on a new boat owner who was going to also invest in Anchor. We took his boat out (on charter) without notifying him. Flying by the seat of our pants at the time, we were reacting to opportunity versus slowing down and doing things right. Tough loss, but lesson learned.
What does the future hold for Anchor?
Anchor is on the fringe of launching our program nationwide. We will roll out our application on bodies of water that have a combination of high tourism traffic, built-in boating culture, and an overall need for a new approach to traditional boating. The idea is to give the world access to better and more affordable boating options, and to make boating/yachting an ideal way to celebrate with friends, family, and co-workers.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Clearwater?
When I think of Clearwater, I also think of Tampa. Clearwater has plenty of small mom and pop businesses, but very few tech startups are actually located in Clearwater proper. Tampa, on the other hand, has a booming tech startup community. Programs like the Tampa Bay Wave (among others) are bringing companies like Anchor from all over the country.
It is so important that existing businesses (large and small) find ways to collaborate with and embrace tech startups. In so doing, they will find new ways to break through ceilings/plateaus and take their businesses to the next level.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Do what you love. Now, that may sound basic, and it is, but it is more important than you will ever know. Here is why: Being an entrepreneur is harder than you think. And just when you think it couldn’t get any harder, well, it gets harder. If you are going to take the big dive and try to change the world, it’s not going to be easy. But you’ll have a much better chance of being successful if you’re doing something you are passionate about. Because humans will do almost anything for the things and people we love.
If you are not passionate about what you are doing, quitting will be easy. And quitters never win. Remember, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.