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Female Founders: Yachtly

We launched the Female Founders blog to celebrate the achievements and hard work of the female entrepreneurs in our startup community. This month's blog features Judy Price, Co-founder and CEO of Yachtly. Here, Judy discusses her motivations for setting up the business and her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Can you tell us about your background and what inspired you to start your own business in the leisure marine sector?

After several amazing vacations sailing our friends around the Virgin Islands, five years ago my husband and I decided to launch our own yacht charter business as Owner/Operators. Not only were we entrepreneurs, but also the product/service as we created and executed on custom sailing charters around the USVI and BVI. This venture was meant to be a season in our life, but when the opportunity to pivot to Yachtly came along, it was a path I couldn’t refuse.

I have a strong background in business, which fit in seamlessly with my industry knowledge to provide valuable insights and leadership for Yachtly. I have firsthand experience of the gap between how charter guests expect to pay, and how they can actually pay. Once I delved deeper into the processes, it became apparent that there was an opportunity to use technology to make paying for a charter online, flexible, secure and efficient.

As female founders in a traditionally male-dominated sector, what specific challenges did you face, and how did you overcome these challenges?

Honestly, that hasn’t been the case. I spent a significant amount of time learning about the industry, making connections, volunteering my time and working in it. I’ve found that this same formula throughout my career has given me the credibility to work organically alongside industry leaders, no matter the gender.

Can you share a moment of success or achievement that you're particularly proud of as a founder?

I’m proud of our product launch in Winter of 2023. So much work went into creating a payments processing platform for the yacht charter industry: the customer discovery with various stakeholders, as well as the actual product development to make Yachtly what it is. I’m so excited by what we introduced and for the future, as this is just the beginning. We will continue conversations with the industry so that the product grows along with the needs of our consumers.

Maintaining work-life balance is crucial for entrepreneurs. How have you managed this?

It’s hard to take breaks from the work, so I find it is important to be intentional. Often entrepreneurs work two jobs - the current one that pays the bills so that the startup (which likely doesn’t pay) can be worked on in the off-hours. But without a break, or proper rest, it is difficult to be good at both roles. I’ve been fortunate that my paying job is in a business with my husband, who fully supports my fintech endeavor. He has taken on additional tasks at our business, so that I can share my time with Yachtly. Additionally, technology and remote work allows for more flexibility so that I can find time for non-work activities too.

For women considering entrepreneurship in the leisure marine sector, what advice would you share based on your own experiences?

Perform industry research, make connections, and find a role that allows you to start working in the sector of interest. This will build credibility and may lead to identifying a need to be solved and/or a partner to work alongside with on a cutting edge technology.

Looking ahead, what are your business plans and goals for 2024?

Yachtly has a great opportunity to grow the brand through education and in-person connections. Over the next 12 months, we are working to close out our seed funding round, so that we continue to expand geographically and offer Yachtly to the global yacht charter industry.


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