How did you come up with the idea for the business?
After 10 years working in raw materials, I decided to move to the Mediterranean in 2020 and started working as a Product Development Manager for 2Yachts, which is the largest database for the sale and charter of yachts.
In the spring of 2022, the idea was born to implement the concept of successful comparison services for travel (e.g. Skyscanner, KAYAK or Trivago) to the yacht charter industry. The vision for the company was supported by Kirill Soliar, co-founder of sailica.com (a yacht rental service), and we decided to create a new product for the global market.
Why does the industry need the solution you're providing?
A new generation of younger travellers are accelerating the growth of the yacht charter industry, and they expect transparency and digital tools when it comes to booking their trips. With the rise of online booking platforms (such as Borrow A Boat, Zizoo, Boatsetter), our idea is not just a nice-to-have but a must-have in order to ensure charterers get the upmost transparency and are able to make a fully informed decision when choosing their charter agency.
Why can we currently quickly compare prices for flights, hotels, or even travel experiences (excursions, tours, museum tickets), but not for a yacht charter? This is the question I asked myself when I started the Boatscribe journey and met hundreds of clients who were wasting time looking for a yacht charter online. They had to visit dozens of websites searching for the best offer. Boatscribe helps holiday bookers worldwide to compare and choose yacht charter offers from multiple agencies on one platform (without booking and transaction steps).
My colleagues and competitors from charter agencies spend huge budgets on user acquisition. We provide a targeted marketing channel where they pay not for clicks and views, but for successful bookings.
What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?
After working in large industrial corporations, creating your own startup is a real challenge. But at the same time, being an entrepreneur is true freedom: the freedom to plan, test, and learn something new every day.
From the moment the idea appears, everything depends on you - from the selection of partners and your team, to the correct prioritisation of the project. Energy is spent on creating something really new and useful. Of course, there will always be mistakes but the lessons learnt from those mistakes are invaluable.
Overall, I've really enjoyed working with my team and building relationships with experienced professionals in the yacht charter market. This really is a people business.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
Before starting the project, we faced 3 challenges:
Technical - The yacht charter market is very fragmented, so collecting and identifying the same yacht on different sites is not an easy task. However, thanks to our AI-based module, we solved this problem at an early stage of development.
Partnership - Many online agencies still perceive us not as a marketing partner, but as a competitor. After consulting with advisors from http://Kayak.com , we realized that they also went through this stage, and over time, most agencies will be ready for integration.
Fundraising - Now our project is fully bootstrapped but to implement ambitious plans, we are running a pre-seed fundraising campaign and this will definitely not be easy.
Any bits of advice for entrepreneurs getting started in this space?
I don't really like giving advice, so I'll keep it short: The yachting industry is still quite conservative, so it's important to network with professionals from whom you get invaluable experience and insights. These insights will help you build your product and clearly communicate your value proposition.
What's the plan for the future of the business? Where do you see the company in 3 5 years?
Our goal is to be the first service that comes to mind when looking for a yacht charter. Our business model allows us to combine all known types of yacht charter, from cabin, daily or classic weekly charters to luxury mega yacht charters. To reach the level of Skyscanner for flights or Trivago for hotels, our plan is to provide benefits to both holiday bookers and our partners.