Entrepreneurs drive change. They see opportunities and they take risks.

With limited support for startups in the yachting industry, it is not an easy space to break into.

The Yachting Ventures team can see huge potential for founders to improve efficiency, generate job opportunities and ultimately change the yachting industry for the better. 




Gabriella was one of the first employees at SeedLegals - a high growth tech startup in London that recently closed a $4 million Series A Round with facebook-backer Index Ventures. At SeedLegals, she worked directly with founders, startup accelerators and investors to help automate the fundraising process.

Prior to SeedLegals, Gabriella studied Law, worked as a charter broker for Camper & Nicholsons and was also a Director of Young Professionals in Yachting (YPY) UK.

She is currently a trainee solicitor with maritime law firm Campbell Johnston Clark in London.

Timothy Hamilton


Tim is the Director of Lurssen Americas. In his role, he focuses on sales of new builds and refits for Lurssen in North and South America as well as providing shoreside support for Lurssens cruising in the Americas.

Prior to working for Lurssen, Tim was the Director of Feadship America in a similar role and has also represented the Rodriguez Group in the Americas markets.  In 2016, he left Feadship to found Rentlit.com, a tech startup focused on property management.  Tim lives in Fort Lauderdale, loves triathlons, and is married with two beautiful young daughters.




Jessika is the co-founder of PACTA Relations - a management consulting firm specialising in Investor Relations, Marketing and Corporate Development. She has over 10 years of experience in capital markets, public relations and business development.

Prior to founding PACTA Relations, Jessika advised Camper & Nicholsons International in the Marketing and Business Development department for the Americas. She secured several partnerships with luxury brands and organised yacht shows including Monaco, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach.

Matt Ovenden


Matt is a serial entrepreneur on his 4th startup as the founder of Borrow A Boat - a charter marketplace that includes peer-to-peer listings and has now raised more than £3 million in funding. 

Often described as the airbnb for boats, Borrow a Boat was also recently part of the Natwest Accelerator in London. Matt brings a wealth of practical experience on crowdfunding, the marketplace business model, scaling via SEO and optimising UI/UX.

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Hadleigh is the founder and CEO of SwipedOn - a leading visitor management solution with over 6,000 subscribers globally, including dozens of superyachts. SwipedOn was part of an accelerator in New Zealand, raised $1 million in funding and sold for $11 million in 2018, after being acquired by a UK listed SmartSpace Software. 

Hadleigh is a qualified Master Mariner, with a former seagoing career of 18 years, including seven years onboard superyachts. He is passionate about early stage business, tech led innovation and the superyacht industry. Having left the sea behind for an office, he spends his time trying to get back on the water, in his native New Zealand.

Merijn de Waard


Merijn is the founder and director of SuperYacht Times (SYT), which he established in 2005. The publication has become the leading yachting website with around 500,000 visits per month. In 2014 a bi-monthly printed newspaper, The SuperYacht Times, was added to the portfolio.

The company also publishes a yearly market report and our intelligence system, SuperYacht Times iQ, is the most powerful and accurate market intelligence tool for superyacht owners and professionals. In March 2020 SYT also bought the onboard infotainment system YachtEye.

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Rose Damen


Rose Damen is a Non-Executive Director and a shareholder at the family owned Damen Shipyards Group. Rose heads Damen’s yachting division – which includes Amels, Damen Yacht Support and SeaXplorer. Damen owns the largest superyacht facility in the Netherlands and is world-renowned for the very highest quality superyachts above 50 metres in length.

Before joining Damen Shipyards full-time in 2014, Rose earned an MBA from INSEAD, with a focus on entrepreneurial management. This followed five years’ experience in fund management at a London-based institutional investor. Together with her sister, Rose was winner of the 2017 Enterprising Women of the Year Award for the category over $100 million in annual revenues.



Lauren is the Founder of Cotton Crews - a bespoke yacht crew agency based in South Florida. Appreciating the importance of technology, Cotton Crews launched two apps in 2018 and has also broken into the property market - now providing safe, clean crew housing to over 200 crew members between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

Prior to launching Cotton Crews in 2013, Lauren worked for Rybovich Superyacht Marina and Worth Avenue Yachts. She grew up on the water in South Florida and graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University with a degree in communications and marketing.

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Joseph entered the yachting industry after a career in the Israeli high-tech space as a serial entrepreneur in data communications. He is the founder & CEO of WinterHaven Technology - a startup breaking the traditional model of Refit Shipyard/Marina and creating a new experience with an upgraded set of facilities, features and scale. The plan is to reshape the way superyachts are being managed and operated with a revolutionary platform that will change how suyperyachts are designed and built.

Joseph is also an Ambassador for the Globalize Accelerator based in Silicon Valley.



Anissa is the CEO of Engel & Völkers Yachting. She was born in Belgium and graduated as a skilled interpreter before joining Engel & Völkers in the premium real estate division. 

She supported the opening of over 20 residential Engel & Völkers locations from the beginning, including the license acquisition until they were set-up and operational. 

In 2015 the yachting department of Engel & Völkers was launched, and Anissa moved to the new division where she brought her in-depth knowledge of the luxury industry with her as CEO.

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Steven is the founder and CEO of YATCO, the Official MLS of Yachting with over 20 years in the yacht brokerage marketplace and over $5 Billion a year in sold vessel transactions. 

Before founding YATCO, Steven was the world's #1 dealer for the Ferretti Group and the former International Sales Manager of Viking Yacht Company. 

Using his wealth of experience and education as an Alumnus of the Harvard School of Business, Steven works daily to serve the best interests of yachting and advance the industry through technology, making YATCO BOSS the leading platform online.



Sarah is a brand and communications consultant with over 15 years of luxury marketing, PR and brand experience. A passionate and innovative strategist, Sarah has extensive experience working alongside leading Superyacht management companies, shipyards, designers, service suppliers and some of the world best known superyachts.

Sarah has managed many startup companies and new brands cement their marketing and brand positioning in the yachting industry. 

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Onno is currently the Director of Events, Marketing and Finance at ACREW and is also involved in ZoomYachting Turkey and startups Majestic Superyacht Experiences and Royal Wellness.

He has a background in the superyacht sector being a shareholder in ACREW since its first year and adds 20 years of corporate experience running a top 5 consultancy, marketing and advertising company in the Netherlands. He has consulted many companies on marketing & sales strategies, funding and corporate structures. His core strengths lie in process optimisation, building teams and financial management.

Edward Thomas


Edward is the founder of Gym Marine - the superyacht industry's first specialist gym designer. After growing up in Antigua, Edward spent 6 years as yacht crew before stepping ashore to found Gym Marine in 2014.

Gym Marine has designed and installed gyms on both the worlds' largest sailing and motor yachts - Dilbar and Black Pearl - and is currently estimated to be working on more than 60% of new build yacht projects over 50m in Northern Europe.

Over the past 6 months, Edward has also been part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Scheme at Oxford University, where he has developed a strategic growth plan to take Gym Marine to the next level. 

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Ian spent over 15 years on the water before moving ashore to launch pioneering Vessel Management Systems on yachts up to 140m.

He has written policies for ISO, ISM & PMS and also authored the Documentation Module for the Maritime Training Academy’s Diploma in Superyacht New Build and Refit.

Ian now mainly accompanies new build projects - deploying custom Microsoft Office solutions to help Owners' Teams manage deadlines, documentation and communication. He also continues to design software for two other companies.

Marcela de Kern Royer


Marcela combines a passion for yachting with a strong international academic background. She is the founder of YPY Monaco and is currently writing the first superyacht industry textbook.

As Business Development Director for ICON Yachts, she has gained exposure to all facets of the industry including new build, refit, brokerage, management and as a supplier. Marcela obtained an MBA from Hult Business School in Boston and a BSBA degree from the International University of Monaco. She speaks six languages fluently.

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Sipke is the Commercial Director at Feadship America. He joined Feadship initially in the Netherlands as a Sales Manager before moving to America in 2018.

Prior to joining Feadship, Sipke started his own yacht brokerage - Yacht Consult - in Belgium, when he was just 21 years old. Although young and lacking in experience, Yacht Consult grew from strength to strength and is now the exclusive dealer for Ferretti Yachts, Pershing and Riva in Benelux.

Sipke currently lives in Miami with his wife and son and tries to spend as much time as possible having fun on the water.  



Sophia is the Founder of Sophia Tutino Yachting Ltd - a boutique yachting company specialised in yacht charter and charter management. Prior to launching her own company, Sophia worked for 3 of the leading brokerage houses over the course of 12 years: Burgess, Ocean Independence and IYC.

Sophia also maintains an active participation in yachting associations globally - including the Association of Women in Yachting (AWY), Charter Yacht Brokers Association (CYBA), Young Professionals in Yachting (YPY), European Committee for Yachting Professionals (ECPY) and International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA).

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Henry Burkitt


Henry is the Founder of Kraken Travel - a curated online market place specialising in sailing adventures worldwide. Now in its 4th year, Kraken started as a blank sheet of paper scribbled on Henry's morning commute to his desk as a city lawyer. It now lists 200+ trips across six continents and recently closed a seed round of £120,000 whilst the world was literally in lockdown. 

Whilst at the helm of Kraken, Henry has continued to work part-time as a lawyer and become a father twice over. He is a strong believer in pragmatism and the power of involving great people.

Charlie Birkett


Charlie co-founded Y.CO in 2004. He worked alongside his business partner Gary Wright to scale and grow their small yacht management start-up into a globally renowned name in yachting. Y.CO is now recognised as one of the leading full-service yacht companies in the industry and supports over 100 large yacht operations worldwide.

As a highly creative and forward-thinking CEO, Charlie is passionate about enhancing the yachting experience and has spearheaded several industry-first initiatives over recent years. Y.CO is headquartered in Monaco, with offices in London and Fort Lauderdale.

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If you are inspired to join Yachting Ventures, please describe your experience and why you would be a good fit below.

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