Meet the Yoodlize founders: Jason and Natalie Fairbourne

May 2, 2024

Meet Jason and Natalie Fairbourne, the husband-and-wife founders behind peer-to-peer rental platform Yoodlize. Learn how and why they started Yoodlize, the values the company champions and the challenges of running a tech startup with these five questions for the founders.

  1. How did Yoodlize get started?

Natalie: While living abroad in Kenya, we “world-schooled” our three children. This entailed learning about an area of the world during homeschool lessons, then visiting that area. Using this pattern, we traveled to many different countries, which was such an awesome way to give our kids first-hand educational experiences. 

Before moving back to our native Utah in 2018, Jason and I assigned one final project to the kids, then 16, 14 and 12 years old: come up with the family’s next entrepreneurial venture they could execute back in the U.S.

Jason: While the boys’ ramen shop and donut delivery service ideas had promise (I still want late-night donut deliveries!), it was our 14-year-old daughter’s idea that stuck.

As she reflected on our worldwide travels, Alta asked me, “Remember when you were looking for a surfboard so we could hit the waves in Norway? Or that time we had to buy a skateboard for that one outing in Amsterdam? Or how about in Japan when you wanted a telephoto lens for skiing and said, ‘Somebody in Japan must have a Canon lens I could borrow for the day.”

Alta listed off a handful of other things we had needed during our travels, things that locals certainly had. “People use platforms like Airbnb to find homes or Uber to find rides---why don’t we create a platform where people can find stuff?” And that’s the genesis of Yoodlize.

When we got back to the States, I brought in my cousin Jeremy Robertson as the technical co-founder, who built the platform. We started testing it in the Provo, Utah area in the summer of 2019, and it’s just grown from there. 

  1. Is it challenging working as a husband-and-wife team?

Jason:  We get that question a lot. We’ve been married 25 years so we are pretty good at getting along. Natalie and I have quite different personalities, but one thing we have in common is that we love to work. Work is our fun.

Natalie: The one downside is our kids get sick of hearing about Yoodlize all the time. The great thing is our differing personalities work really great together. Jason is the wildly optimistic, big-ideas guy–the one who sells our vision. He’s great at networking, fundraising and keeping everyone moving toward the target. I am a solid realist, getting things done. I sometimes joke that I am the CEEO, the chief everything else officer.

Jason: It's also great that our kids are now adults, so we can focus more energy into Yoodlize.

Photo credit: Francisco Kjolseth, The Salt Lake Tribune.

  1. What’s the toughest part of running your startup?

Natalie: Jason and I have run several other businesses together, so building something from scratch isn’t really new to us. Building is fun! We have a small but very capable team, consumers love our platform, and we believe in the value of what we are doing. But it’s always challenging to keep moving the product forward under financial constraints. As a startup, the finances are probably our biggest challenge. 

Jason: Fundraising is definitely the biggest challenge in my opinion because venture capital has really tightened up over the past couple of years. I spend too much of my time trying to raise money when I could be doing other things to move the business forward. In fact, we are in the process of raising a seed round right now and it’s tough out there. But ultimately, it’s just a numbers game of sifting through many possible VCs until you find the right partner that aligns with your core values and is willing to take a chance. 

  1. What problem are you solving?

Jason: At Yoodlize, we're solving the problem of excessive consumption and underutilization of resources. By providing a platform for people to share and rent items, we're promoting a more sustainable and cost-effective way of living. We're helping people monetize their unused items, while also providing access to a wide range of items at affordable prices.

Natalie: Most people have a lot of unused items lying around their homes, garages and storage spaces, while others are looking for things to rent or borrow for short-term use. We saw an opportunity to create a platform where these two groups could connect and benefit from each other. So we founded Yoodlize with the mission to make sharing and renting items as easy as possible to help the consumer financially, and also to move the needle in providing sustainable consumption options that enable people to still have experiences without having to own so much stuff. 

  1. What values and ideals does Yoodlize embody?

Jason: Yoodlize embodies values of community, sustainability and accessibility. We believe in the power of sharing and collaboration to create a more connected and sustainable world. Our platform is built on the idea that everyone has something valuable to offer, and by sharing resources, we can all benefit and thrive together while reducing the negative environmental impacts that are a result of traditional consumption. 

Natalie: Sustainability is a big part of what Yoodlize is about. If we could rent things instead of buy them, we could own fewer things and live in smaller houses. Manufacturing, transportation and waste would be reduced. Not as many natural resources would need to be extracted and fewer pollutants would fill our water, land and air. We really hope individuals will see that they can make a difference by changing their consumption habits.

© 2024 Yoodlize Inc.

© 2024 Yoodlize Inc.