The start-up has leveraged the power of smart people and has onboarded a global and diverse team with fresh perspectives, resulting in expanding success with a 54% growth in users and 81% growth in itineraries month-on-month.
Launched in April 2022, the Australian-founded startup Ankor has, from day one, worked on the approach that an amazing team is the only way to build best-in-class software. Since its inception, they have been committed to being one of the best places to work and have put in place incentives to attract and retain top talent.
Founded and helmed by two technologically driven experts and serial entrepreneurs - Mike Sager and Elliot Cousins - Ankor recognised that there was a problem - how could they bring yacht charterers and brokers together? They took tried and tested SaaS product and engineering principles to create a specific platform for the yachting industry to solve the problem.
A global effort
Today, Ankor is driving enhanced digitisation of the yachting industry through its platform, integrating its advanced technological solutions and intuitive design. The company has provided the yacht charter industry with a method to streamline processes, improve communication and simplify transactions through its ‘Trips’ functionality - creating customised yachting itineraries and proposals through a seamless user experience.
Backed by its exceptional international team, the company has been driving a digital shift on a global level. Their fully remote company structure enables the team of developers and sales representatives to operate across five countries, easily covering all global yachting markets.
This global reach has resulted in Ankor demonstrating fast growth, having already been used by 121 yacht brokerages in 17 countries across the US, Mediterranean, Europe, UK and Australia. Within Q2 of this year, the number of active users steadily climbed, reaching an impressive milestone of 112 active users in a single week in June. The creation of new itineraries also witnessed substantial growth during this period, with a record of 117 itineraries created within one week. This surge in active users is indicative of the platform’s effectiveness and appeal. The data showcases the software’s ability to engage and captivate new and existing users.
Ankor has accelerated these growth statistics through the expansion of its team. The company has 18 staff members based in Sydney (Australia), with an additional 13 spanning all corners of the globe, including a 24/6 live chat service to ensure enhanced customer satisfaction. Recent hires include team members within Quality Assurance, additions to the Product Manager team and an Analytics expert to continue the software’s development.
Fresh and varied perspectives
Aside from the team’s overarching passion for technology and problem-solving, the startup’s greatest strength lies in the fact that they have onboarded team members from industries outside the yachting realm. The infusion of these fresh perspectives has injected a new lease of life into traditional and sometimes archaic industry practices and approaches.
By leveraging their expertise from diverse sectors such as technology, finance, hospitality and travel, the team brings together innovative ideas and unconventional solutions to the table. With a collective expertise that extends beyond yachting, it allows them to approach challenges with a forward-thinking mindset.
From software engineers with an extensive background developing innovative platforms across global e-commerce to long-standing account executives with a flair for optimising the customer experience, the Ankor team brings a fresh perspective that is fundamentally revolutionising the process of organising and managing a yacht charter.
Team retention is essential to Ankor and one of the values they have followed from the outset. Nurturing their team and offering attractive packages has enabled the rapid success and growth of the company.
While equity ownership is commonly practised in the startup world, it remains relatively rare among the community of yachting startups. However, Ankor recognises the importance of aligning incentives to foster loyalty within its team. As a component of their compensation package, each staff member has their own equity share in the company to reward their dedication and to drive customer-centric outcomes. This forward-thinking approach motivates team members to excel in their roles and cultivates a long-term perspective that aligns with the company’s growth objectives.
An anchored future
By assembling a global and accomplished team with a philosophy centred around the key principles of customer-centricity, data-driven decision-making, continuous learning, divergent thinking, and collaborative expertise, Ankor has created a winning formula and approach to the yachting world.
Future plans include the imminent launch of a new exciting tool called ‘Yacht Noter’. As requested by the market, this mobile app addition has been developed for any yacht charter and sales broker who attends yacht shows. It will be the only purpose-built software that enables professionals to easily take notes on yachts at shows worldwide.
“We are incredibly proud of the rapid growth and success we have achieved so far since our launch. Ankor’s growth success is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our incredible team. We started by wanting to find an industry with a gap between market expectations and technology’s capabilities. Through market research and fortuitous encounters, the yacht charter market stood out as the customers had high expectations, but there was a significant void in the technology available.” - Mike Sager, Co-CEO and Founder.
"In other parts of the luxury or even run-of-the-mill travel industry, travellers have all the information in the palm of their hands. Major airlines, hotel bookings, online travel agencies, and more have embraced technology to provide seamless solutions for both travellers and service providers. However, the yacht charter broking sector, was, frankly, years behind. As we look toward the future, our plans are focused on continuing to push the boundaries of technology even further and committed to continually improving our platform while introducing new features and apps that will propel the industry forward." - Elliot Cousins, Co-CEO and Founder.