We sat down with Chris Jacobs, co-founder of SailTies, 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?
During our Day Skipper course on a wet March weekend on the Solent, Tom and I realised there were two things we were missing: warmer gloves and a modern way to capture our experience.
We wanted to look back on our adventure, share the memories with friends and family and, most importantly, keep a record of our overall sailing experience. The current way of doing that was the paper log book, which left a lot to be desired. We realised we would need to solve the problem ourselves and starting working on SailTies.
Why does the industry need the solution you’re providing?
There is no modern way to capture all of your sailing in one place. The trips you’ve done, who you’ve sailed with, the photos taken along the route, the miles you’ve logged, your qualifications - all together. SailTies is a platform that allows sailors to do this in a fun and collaborative way. This makes it easier to demonstrate your sailing experience, making it easier to get out on the water and improving the accessibility of the sport and profession.
What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company.
Meeting and speaking to lots of sailors from around the world! SailTies members have logged voyages in 6 out of 7 continents and we make a special effort to speak to them every week. It’s fascinating and inspiring to hear how people are enjoying using the app in their part of the world. I will never forget a sailor who had just completed a trip from Fiji to New Zealand telling me how jealous she was of seeing my sailing in Southampton on the public feed.
What challenges did you have to overcome and the beginning of your journey?
The majority of sailors only get out on the water a handful of times per year, so we have to think outside the box to keep SailTies top of mind. We started with a public feed and group pages to share exciting voyages from other sailors and we are about to release our “winter features” to allow members to add their previous sailing experience to build up their sailing CV in the off-season.
Any bits of advice for entrepreneurs getting started in this space?
There’s a narrow window for building relationships with other businesses and clubs. Once the season starts, everyone is understandably too busy to change their processes - so putting the effort in during the off-season is critical. We will be attending the International Charter Expo in December to meet as many charter companies as possible.
What’s the plan for the future of the business?
Currently we’re focussed on building the best way to keep all of your sailing in one place. There will be new features coming throughout winter informed by our user interviews.
The bigger vision is to make it easier to get out on the water. This will be by having a verified SailTies CV to prove your experience and by connecting our sailors with each other and sailing organisations to create more sailing opportunities.