We sat down with Francis Gamble, founder of Kaapberger Yaren 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?
My passion for the ocean started at an early age playing at the viking burial mounds on the western shore of the Oslo fjord, which is also home to the Norwegian navy and has been contributing to pioneering maritime technology for over 200 years.
This is where my great-grandfather took part in the development of the first Norwegian submarine fleet, and is probably where the seed for the creation of Kaapberger was planted. From the wild and immense South African coast to the Caribbean islands, I have always been seeking the true feeling of freedom the ocean gives you.
After many years working in the financial business sector, I wanted to create a company that I felt passionate about. My vision is inspired by luxury automotive manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, McLaren & Koenigsegg, and it is to build high-performance yachts with cutting-edge battery technology.
Why does the industry need the solution you're providing?
As nearly all waterborne vessels use diesel combustion engines to turn their propellers, the seaborne fleet needs options to reduce the impact on our oceans. Our contribution to solving the climate challenge is to implement the technology available to reduce our carbon footprint, creating silent yachts that do not emit any fumes.
We will provide sustainable options within the maritime sector, using electric engines, eco-friendly antifouling bottom paint, sustainable wood and leatherette interior in our yachts. We are always on the look-out for the latest developments in the market.
What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?
Kaapberger - Yaren shipyard is located in the port of Istanbul which has been used for seaborne trade and shipbuilding since the 12th century, thanks to its prime geographic location. To watch and learn how shipwrights with skills that have been passed down through generations build hand made yachts from scratch, is definitely what I have enjoyed the most so far. To be part of a performance-driven team and the experienced force behind our battery technology, makes me push forward every morning, despite discouragement and previous setbacks.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
In general, challenges motivate me. I would say the biggest, continuing, obstacle on my journey, has been the occasional bout of impostor syndrome. I started working at the age of 16 and all my knowledge and skills are self taught or learned by doing. I have had the privilege to be taught and mentored by some great professionals in my field, and I take great pride in my work. However, when talking to industry experts who possess vast experience and coordinating professionals which have detailed technical knowledge, I am humbled by the greatness of the project I am allowed to be a part of.
Any bits of advice for entrepreneurs getting started in this space?
Carefully select your team and business partners. This is also applicable for the financial part - the investors. We are still in our seed round, but coming from the financial sector, I know that finding the right investors can help companies grow tremendously, as they gain access to their experience, knowledge and large network. Finding investors that can contribute is easier said than done and since yacht manufacturing is a very niche and hardware orientated business, it will take time. But they are out there and you will find them.
What's the plan for the future of the business? Where do you see the company in 3-5 years?
We will continue investing our time in seaborne innovation to become one of the worlds most desired yacht brands. In 3 to 5 years you will see our brand present in showrooms and at yacht summits. In addition, we will have established supreme coast to coast supercharger stations throughout the Scandinavian and mediterranean shoreline.