On their return trip from a friend’s bachelor party in 2018 at Lake Havasu, business partners Patrick Frank and George Kramb were in mutual agreement that the soiree they had attended – held partly in inflatable toys floating on the water – left them feeling a little, well… deflated.
“The only floats around were unicorns and pizza slices meant for influencers and not us everyday guys,” Frank said.
Fast forward a short time later to Kramb and his young son Maverick playing with action figures and toy tanks before bathtime, when Kramb’s son asked him why he couldn’t play with the tanks in the water in the tub.
“He kept trying to make the tank float and spray water in the tub but unfortunately it couldn’t do either,” Frank said. “He asked why it couldn’t do that and he wanted it to, and from there George got hit with the idea and we started building it.”
So began Frank and Kramb’s foray into the inflatable pool toy business. By the next year, the two created an inflatable water toy they called Pool Punisher.
The military green colored float lets users stick out their legs underneath and has the look of an armored tank, complete with a seating area inside a mounting platform, with a removable pump-action water blaster sticking out of the turret.
Pool Punisher grew its line to include a larger “Admiral” float, the “Pretty” punisher in pink and a “Patriot” toy replete with stars and stripes.
The La Jolla Village-based company changed its name to Float Factory in 2023, named Frank as “Chief Float Officer” and Kramb as “Chief Fun Officer” and this year rebranded, expanded and are exploring new terrain.
The company has started floating out a new line of products, including a “Fast Collection” – four unique race cars. They will be featured at the Formula One Miami Grand Prix. Float Factory now also has a line of political leader-themed floats (think Donald Trump and Joe Biden) – including two with a feature that allows them to talk.
Both in their early 30s, Frank and Kramb, childhood friends who grew up on the same street in Clairemont, were already successful with a company they founded in 2016 called Patient Partner (initially called Rightdevice).
Patient Partner’s platform allows people in need of healthcare treatment, information and advice to reach peers who have experienced similar situations. “Healthcare and tech are such strenuous industries, we were looking for something else to do that would be fun and lighthearted and this fit the bill,” Frank said.
Frank, who graduated from University of San Diego with a degree in business administration and finance, has taken the lead on Float Factory while Kramb, an economics graduate from the University of Oregon with a strong background in medical devices, puts most of his time and efforts into growing Patient Partner.
In 2021, the two were named as one of Forbes, Inc.’s “30 Under 30” for Consumer Technology.
“Although my dedication and bandwidth is focused on Patient Partner, the amount of engagement and customer demand for the Float Factory validated that this was not just a passion project but had the opportunity to become a real business,” Kramb said.
CO-FOUNDERS: George Kramb and Patrick Frank
HEADQUARTERS: La Jolla Village
BUSINESS: Direct-to-Consumer, Retail
WEBSITE: floatfactory.co, 619-871-2757
SOCIAL IMPACT: Float Factory donates to help in-need children who are part of military families as well as to various charities.
NOTABLE: Co-founders George Kramb and Patrick Frank grew up on the same street in Clairemont.