Breaking into an industry as established as that of yachting can be tricky. While a wealth of opportunity waits ahead, its niche status makes it difficult for fledgeling businesses to break through to the heavyweights. Frustrated at the lack of innovation and realising the potential for improvement within the industry, Yachting Ventures' founder Gabriella Richardson was adamant to venture outside of the traditional path that has defined the industry for so long. Eager to breathe new life into the industry, Yachting Ventures is on a mission to help aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the course with more direction.
As an accelerator programme, Yachting Ventures supports entrepreneurs through a fixed-term programme that comprises mentorship, educational content, building connections, securing investment and much more, with the aim of accelerating the growth of early-stage ventures by compressing years’ worth of learning into just a few months. And what better way to do so than alongside seasoned experts of the industry?
With eight powerful mentors forming the team so far - amongst which is SuperYacht Times founder Merijn de Waard - the team is rapidly expanding. As such, SYT decided to dig deeper and find out more about Yachting Ventures’ mentorship, what the individual mentors can bring to the table, and what this means for the industry at large.
Connections to key industry players
As a relatively tight community, a crucial aspect of Yachting Ventures’ mentorship programme is the access it provides new businesses to key industry players. Despite having only recently launched, Yachting Ventures’ founder Gabriella Richardson commented that, “I've been really surprised by how receptive key industry players have been towards the initiative, and I think that Yachting Ventures will help to bring those more forward-thinking innovators together.” Having worked as a broker for Camper & Nicholsons and on the Board of Directors at Young Professionals in Yachting (YPY) in the UK, Richardson has immersed herself in the industry from an early stage in her career, and has her fair share of experiences to relate.
Similarly, mentor Timothy Hamilton, currently Director of Lürssen Americas and previously Director at Feadship Americas, offers aspiring entrepreneurs an exclusive glimpse into the inner workings of the industry. Additionally, having been founded 15 years ago, Merijn de Waard’s burgeoning media and data business SuperYacht Times connects striving entrepreneurs to the industry, while also providing vital insights into market statistics and developing trends.
Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesExperience in diverse fields
Although Yachting Ventures’ primary focus is on accelerating business ventures related to the yachting industry, there is also a great deal to be learned from alternative industries. Jessika Angarita, co-founder of PACTA Relations - a management consulting firm specialised in investor relations, marketing and corporate development - exemplifies this in every respect. With the expertise that she brings from PACTA Relations and her field experience of over 10 years, participants have the unique opportunity to exchange ideas with an already successful entrepreneur and acquire indispensable skills that will help them to grow their businesses.
Another case in point is the tech-savvy Joseph Adir, who had a career in the Israeli high-tech space before entering the yachting industry, and serial entrepreneur Matt Ovenden, who is currently working on his fourth startup. Both bring a rich understanding of the business terrain within and outside of yachting, and can teach young businesses about the importance of data communications, crowdfunding, scaling via SEO and optimising users’ experiences.
Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesA wealth of knowledge
Knowledge comes in many forms, but the knowledge that Steven Myers has acquired as CEO and founder of YATCO - as well as his over 20 years’ experience in the yacht brokerage marketplace - is continuously being channelled towards advancing the industry through technology. Future mentees will also benefit from the hands-on, lived experience of many mentors, including that of Edward Thomas, founder of the industry’s first specialist gym designer, Gym Marine, who had over six years’ experience as yacht crew under his belt before stepping ashore to found his company.
Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht Times
Working closely together with established professionals gives participants the chance to have their ideas challenged - at times by their biggest competition - which can help strengthen their business, locate their weak spots and broaden their outlook.
With an 18-year seagoing career behind him, Hadleigh Ford contributes a wealth of practical skill and an astute knowledge of the start-up sphere, having founded and sold his own start-up for $11 million in 2018. And for those eager to take a more academic approach, Marcela de Kern Royer has become fluent in the language of yachting. Having founded YPY Monaco, she is currently writing the first-ever superyacht industry textbook, and can offer insights into virtually all facets of the industry.
If you’re interested in joining Yachting Ventures’ 10-week accelerator programme to become part of the next generation of yachting entrepreneurs, contact the company directly using the contact details provided below.