We sat down with Cindy Allis, co-founder of Floatist, to talk about the journey to date and plans for the future of the business.
How did you come up with the idea for the business?
While I was in university, I spent my summers and vacations as a semi-professional skipper in the mediterranean. During my time as a skipper, I realized there are lots of challenges charter companies are dealing with in their daily work, that could be solved if only the right tools would exist.
The more I worked as a skipper, experiencing the chaotic check-in days first hand, the more I thought; “there must be a way to make this a better”. Now this is exactly what Floatist is doing: helping charter companies make their life better, especially during the busy peak times.
Why does the industry need the solution you’re providing?
Believe it or not, but 95% of the charter companies I talk to are still keeping track of check-in/out procedures and yacht maintenance tasks on pen and paper. This is just one example of how far the yachting industry is running behind other industries in terms of digitization, but in general the industry has experienced slow adaptation of new trends like using apps and digital tools. This is partially because the product is fairly complicated, but also because the generation that started, and is still running a large amount of the fleets, is resistant to change their ways.
However, with the next generation of people getting involved, more and more charter companies want to innovate, and change their ways for the better, making their business more efficient and future proof. Rising competition and a growing review culture increases the need to do better in order to stand out from their competitors, where using a tool like Floatist can help them create a great customer experience.
What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?
I love the fact that my actions have an impact. When you start your own business, everything you do (or don’t do) has an immediate impact on your employees, your product and eventually your customers. So if you use your energy right, you can make the world a little bit of a better place. With our open, flexible company culture, and clear company vision, our employees love to work for Floatist. With our great product, we make our customers happy. Because of this, I feel my actions are positively contributing to people’s lives!
What’s the plan for the future of the business?
We will continue to build on our product mainly based on our customers’ feedback. This is a huge part of our vision: we don’t build what we think our customers need, but we build what they actually need. We have a big roadmap still ahead of us, with our Floatist Crew marketplace as an exciting addition in 2023.
Any bits of advice for entrepreneurs getting started?
Don’t let the big picture scare you, instead, determine your most important next step, and just take it. Then take the next step, and the next one, and if you are consistent in taking small steps, you will get there. When I got started with Floatist, I felt like I was trying to roll a giant rock uphill, putting in a lot of hours without tangible results. But at some point, I suddenly felt something changed; it was as if the road was not going uphill anymore, but slightly downhill, and I just needed to run with the rock to guide it in the right direction.