How did you come up with the idea for Crewdentials?
We had been considering the idea for a few years before eventually taking the leap of faith to leave full-time employment and set-up the business. We have experienced the pain of managing seafarer credentials from both a crew and business point of view. Seeing crew repeatedly enter the same information into multiple systems, and businesses chasing crew for missing information, the penny eventually dropped. Let’s flip the model around and give control of data back to crew, letting crew choose who to share their data with and keeping it up to date in one place.
Why does the industry need Crewdentials?
To reduce unnecessary admin time and improve compliance from both a seafarer and business perspective. We’re all busy people, so consider embracing technology that reduces pain points and promotes collaboration within the industry.
What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?
Not being held back, aiming for the moon, and being able to influence and build a modern company culture formed on trust and flexibility, which ultimately returns better output for the business.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
Bootstrapping a business initially, you have to become a master of many disciplines. Learning how to build a basic website (wish I’d known about Wix and Editor X earlier!), set-up and manage social media channels, set-up and manage team emails (e.g. MS365 or Google Suite), bookkeep (e.g. Xero or Quickbooks), all consumed a huge amount of my time during the first few months.
Regarding challenges affecting our business model, we realised early on that by trying to fundamentally change the way an entire industry operates, requires collaboration and buy-in from all stakeholders. We don’t want to be seen as competition to other software companies, we want to be known as a collaborator and partner to enhance existing products. We want to do one element really well, which is seafarer credentials. Whether a business collates, handles, manages or verifies credentials, we want to be the industry’s trusted partner.
Any bits of advice for entrepreneurs getting started in this space?
Outsource as much of the initial admin as you can – website build, email set-up, bookkeeping particularly. When the time comes to bolster the team, the first few hires are vital. I can’t stress how important it is to find people that will help you build a strong company culture. This may mean turning away very experienced or capable people, but if they are likely to upset the company balance along the way, then it is just not worth it. It could be the difference between your business succeeding or failing.
What's the plan for the future of Crewdentials? Where do you see the company in 3-5 years?
The last 2-3 years have been spent developing the platform in collaboration with early adopters. More recently we have been working closely with other like-minded software companies and maritime businesses, forming strategic partnerships with a reach of approx. 50,000 vessels across the commercial and yachting sectors. We are now moving onto the growth stage and hope Crewdentials will become a familiar name within the maritime industry with a reputation built on trust, integrity and approachability.