Ankor, the Australian software startup, is adding to their existing range of digital offerings with the intensively researched and fully comprehensive ‘Calendars’ product.
‘Calendars’ is set to be the go-to product for retail charter brokers and central agents globally, streamlining the previously lengthy booking process and back-and-forth communication. Central agents have already listed +200 Superyachts on the platform, and the Ankor team expects that number to skyrocket in the following months once the product is fully launched and adopted by the market.
Together, serial entrepreneurs Mike Sager and Elliot Cousins are spearheading the digitalisation of the yachting industry. Despite only launching in 2021, the founding duo have quickly made a name for themselves across the industry by demonstrating an ability to identify and remedy the pain points of their customers.
After the quick successes of their existing products ‘Itineraries' and ‘YachtNoter’, the Ankor team turned their attention towards an even bigger challenge. The +1000 charter professionals using the Ankor platform were consistently requesting an all encompassing digital solution that would allow retail brokers to see live availability and connect directly with central agents. Answering these requests and taking onboard user feedback in true agile startup style, ‘Calendars’ will empower charter professionals worldwide, expose charter fleets to a larger market and make yachts more accessible than ever before.
Central agents are accountable to yacht owners, and their goal is to secure charter bookings for their fleet. To achieve this, they need to showcase their charter fleet to a broad network of retail brokers. Retail brokers, in turn, want access to reliable data, accurate availability and a global fleet of charter yachts, which allows them to present the best and most comprehensive selection of yachts to their discerning clients. ‘Calendars’ is the answer charter professionals have been searching for.
Pioneering the digitalisation of the yacht charter industry
As a result of their respective backgrounds in corporate technology and SaaS startups, Mike and Elliot make for the ideal figureheads to lead the yachting industry through the much-needed process of digitalisation. Mike worked for the last 8 years in founding and growing startups in the travel technology sphere, whilst Elliot had extensive experience in FinTech and investment banking before also moving into the startup space.
After meeting in the Sydney tech scene, the entrepreneurial pair observed through extensive on-the-ground research that charter brokers were calling out for a solution to outdated processes and extensive paperwork. They also learnt that the digital experience for charter clients needed to reflect the experience and level of service that HNWIs have come to expect onboard luxury yachts and in every other aspect of their lives.
Ankor first designed and launched ‘Itineraries’ in spring 2023, which received great feedback from across the industry. The product allows users to create fully customisable charter itineraries, featuring thousands of layout options, fully-flexible design tools, and a continuously updated library of content and images that combine to produce tailor-made, interactive and effortlessly shareable itineraries and proposals.
Learning that another point of contention amongst charter professionals is the ability to make organised and efficient notes during boat shows, Ankor then went on to build ‘YachtNoter’. With a heavy focus on ease of use, YachtNoter allows brokers to use voice-to-text, and seamlessly convert their notes into PDFs to share with colleagues within the YachtNoter app. The platform is powered by Ankor’s database of +5,000 yachts and was downloaded by +225 brokers in the first 48 hours of the launch at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September 2022.
Connecting the global charter community via one platform
Ankor’s latest offering, ‘Calendars’ has already been adopted by +75 central agents in the four weeks ahead of its official launch. As-ever, Ankor has put a central focus on accessibility and ease of use, with considerate pricing that ensures the platform is accessible for every vetted broker globally. Created for jet-setting charter agents who frequently work on the go, the platform is fully compatible for both mobile and desktop use.
The platform allows retail brokers to streamline the booking process as they are able to see the real-time availability of every yacht on the platform, as well as the contact information of the central agent. Further, the product has been designed to allow central agents to build a global footprint and promote their yachts to retail brokers that may not otherwise have discovered them.
All viewable information on the platform is maintained and entered by the central agent themselves, including charter prices, brochures, crew profiles, various media assets and information on the yacht’s amenities and selection of toys. Crucially, all retail brokers and central agents are vetted before entering the platform in order to verify their legitimacy. This rigorous vetting process ensures that Ankor is able to maintain the integrity of the platform and the quality of the users interacting with it on a daily basis.
To find out more about Calendars, click here: www.ankor.io/calendars