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Startup Spotlight: YACHTNOTES

How do you improve the standards of communication in the yachting industry? This month, we interview Ruben Mena from YACHTNOTES, who embarked on a mission to transform communication among yachting professionals. Ruben discusses his entrepreneurial journey and offers guidance to aspiring yachting entrepreneurs.

How did you come up with the idea for the business?

YACHTNOTES, the one-stop communication platform for yachts, began in the heart of yachting excellence, the Principality of Monaco. While I was completing my Masters in Luxury Management at the International University of Monaco, I had the opportunity to not only learn extensively about the yachting industry but work in it too - specifically the yacht charter industry.

It was during this period that I noticed a huge problem in the industry - terrible communication. This issue can lead to costly mistakes for yacht brokerages such as forgetting to cancel a five-star restaurant reservation for charter guests and having to pay the insane fees associated with that, or leaving an expensive yacht toy at sea because a crew member was overwhelmed with all the modes of communication that they were using (such as WhatsApp, e-mail, text message, walkie-talkie, and more). 

Why does the industry need the solution you're providing?

Many people assume that because the yachting industry is so glamorous it must be impeccably standardised. Unfortunately, this is not the case. But, slowly but surely, it is headed in the right direction, and we as a company are a part of that revolution. YACHTNOTES is an essential tool for yacht brokerages who want to efficiently and securely manage communications. Rather than having a salad of messages across apps, YACHTNOTES enables brokerages to organise chats, maps, contact information and documents in one place. Not to mention, YACHTNOTES has additional features to guarantee exceptional service for charter guests such as a built-in translation feature.

What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?

The most gratifying aspect has been the incredible people I've connected with from around the globe during this entrepreneurial journey. As our brand gains prominence, individuals and businesses from various corners of the world have reached out to us. A special acknowledgement goes to our dedicated software developers, Modernizing Processes, who transformed YACHTNOTES from a mere concept into a tangible reality.

Winning first place in the Mark Challenge, an international luxury business plan competition, against 120+ projects from 50+ nationalities has further solidified our presence across the Americas, Europe, and the burgeoning Asian market. This recognition propels us forward with newfound strength and determination.

What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey? Any bits of advice for entrepreneurs getting started in this space?

A significant hurdle at the onset of building the business was navigating the uncertainty that accompanies entrepreneurship. Bringing a business idea to fruition is a complex journey with no clear-cut path. Participating in pitch competitions and engaging with startup communities, like Yachting Ventures, provided valuable insights and direction.

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to exercise patience. Building a successful venture takes time, and solutions to challenges won't materialize overnight. Foster a social network and openly discuss your business concerns with diverse individuals; you might stumble upon someone with transformative insights. Embrace financial constraints as opportunities for creative problem-solving. We all have been there, trust me!

What's the plan for the future of the business? Where do you see the company in 3-5 years?

Our vision is to establish YACHTNOTES as the gold standard for communication in the yachting industry. We aim to revolutionise communication practices, thereby minimizing waste within the yachting sector. Excitingly, we have a groundbreaking feature on the horizon, set to be unveiled soon, which will significantly impact our software's social footprint dramatically. In 3-5 years, we envision YACHTNOTES being firmly based in Miami, Florida while continuing to grow our presence further across the world.


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