Entrepreneur

New Start-Up Accelerator Connects Superyacht Ventures To Silicon Valley…And Beyond


Yachting Ventures founder Gabriella Richardson grew up surrounded by yachts on the island of Mallorca. And she’s worked as a yacht charter broker for Camper & Nicholsons. But it wasn’t until she’d moved to London and was one of the first employees at SeedLegals (a high growth tech startup that recently closed a $4 million Series A funding round) that her idea to bring proven start-up practices to the yachting industry took shape.

“I love being able to combine insight into the yachting space and insight into the startup world,” she told me recently. “Seeing how much support there is for entrepreneurs in other industries and trying to bring some of that now to the yachting space is exciting. And we’ve already hundreds of applications for our accelerator so there’s a lot of opportunity.

“It’s a 10-week program,” she explains. “We start by helping founders with everything from validating their idea and building out an MVP or minimum viable product the product that they can then use to start testing on real users, get some feedback, and potentially secure a pilot project. 

“The middle weeks all about growth, so branding, marketing, launching. How to scale the team, giving equity to early employees, all that kind of stuff.

“And then the final three weeks are all about raising investment. We help our founders understand what investors look for, how to approach investors and how to find investors. We do sessions with investors that give the founders insight into what they look for and the materials they need. 

“It’s a lot condensed into the 10 weeks, but it’s designed to open the founders’ eyes into what’s out there and we are already seeing results.”

Yachting Ventures-backed projects like the Navier 27, a 27-foot long, zero-emissions all-electric hydrofoil concept yacht capable of flying above the water’s surface at 20 knots that a young team of MIT engineers just unveiled at the Palm Beach International Boat Show seem to be just the beginning.

ZeroJet is another example of a yacht company looking to disrupt the yachting space. Company founders are on a mission to replace 10,000 internal combustion outboards with their unique electric jet propulsion system. It’s half the weight of a traditional outboard and produces a zero emissions.

Boatcation is another B2C startup on our current Yachting Ventures cohort,” says Richardson. “The concept brings the trend of the ‘sharing economy’ to the world of boat chartering. The easy-to-use app uses new technology to match up like-minded to charter a yacht for a vacation or day trip. The upshot is they get to charter a yacht, for a price that fits, and they make new friends and enjoy amazing adventures together. The concept is also a win-win for the boat owner who receive income in return.”

Richardson’s accelerator also helps founders connect with and learn from yachting industry heavyweights such as Charlie Birkett (co-founder of Y.co), Tim Hamilton (Commercial Director at Lurssen US) and others.

Gary Wright and I are very happy to help Yachting Ventures with their mentoring program,” Birkett says. “We see how much time and effort has gone into bringing some great minds together, and we love helping the next generation with their exciting business ideas.” 

“By providing a roadmap for entrepreneurs disrupting the marine trades, Yachting Ventures is filling a much-needed role in our industry,” Hamilton adds. “Our clients are demanding innovation to make the yacht experience more sustainable, more adventurous, and more accessible. By guiding those startups through their product development and scaling stages,  Yachting Ventures is helping the marine industry remain relevant for future generations of owners.”

Watch this space!



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