When Peter Wasmer says, “It’s been a whale of a day so far,” you believe him. The Naples entrepreneur has brought his unique talents to a number of companies, and the latest—ProValet—is taking off.
Wasmer, 55, calls himself a serial entrepreneur. “That’s where my talents lie,” he says. Never happy working for someone else, Wasmer has used his skills in a number of endeavors, from a clothing line to equipment leasing to app-building. Being a serial entrepreneur doesn’t always mean being successful; he admits that his clothing line “failed miserably.” But the entrepreneurs who make it are the ones who dust themselves off and get back to work. “You’re driven by your own dreams,” he says. “You’re not driven by somebody else telling you what to do.”
Wasmer has seen this spirit firsthand in his father. An immigrant from Cuba, Wasmer’s father came to the United States with few resources and limited English. He studied hard, skipped a couple of grades and attended the University of Maryland, where he was president of his class two years in a row. He went on to launch a successful equipment leasing company that sold in 2007, allowing him to retire early. Watching his father succeed, Wasmer said, was the beginning of his own entrepreneurial journey.
Today, Wasmer is focused on building systems. He began by launching an app that automated the motorcycle-leasing process. His company was able to take the transaction time from hours down to minutes. “It was transformational for dealers,” he says. Now, he’s turned his attention to his latest endeavor: ProValet, a system that helps regular interval service companies such as pool businesses and lawn services automate their day-to-day processes. Wasmer’s app streamlines invoicing, scheduling and other processes so companies can focus their energies elsewhere.
“The basis behind many businesses—what makes them successful—is systems,” Wasmer explains. With ProValet and his previous ventures, he set out with the same task in mind: Could he create a system that was simple to use? Ultimately, Wasmer was able to sit down and draw up what he envisioned on a napkin. “We built some complex systems that way,” he says.
When it comes to advice for other entrepreneurs, Wasmer isn’t afraid to get a little mystical. “I can’t tell you one successful risk-taker who walked into anything without some measure of a higher power,” he says. He’s drawn on his own deep well of faith for inspiration and guidance throughout his career.
For others looking to do the same, Wasmer suggests several methods. The first: sobriety. This doesn’t necessarily mean foregoing drinking or smoking (though Wasmer doesn’t do either); it means approaching life with a clear head and a clear heart. He’s also taken up a regular yoga practice, which has helped “crack open the universe” in a way he’s never experienced before.
At that, Wasmer stops himself and laughs. “That sounds a little woo-woo,” he admits. But then he shrugs. “I’m not burdened by what other people think.”
– Artis Henderson