London, Wednesday 6th March 2019: With millennials and now Generation Z often looking for instant gratification, the sailing industry (with its historically high barrier to entry) has struggled to grab the attention of younger generations. Aiming to turn the tides on this trend, Jelte Liebrand left Google to start savvy navvy; making navigation easier, faster and safer for everyone, reducing obstacles that previously discouraged people from getting out on the water.
Planning a trip at sea requires taking into consideration the weather, tides and hazards, which can be a cumbersome process. Our research shows that sailors often use more than four apps at a time and take one to two hours each day during a trip to update their calculations. For newcomers, this is often a big stumbling block.
With savvy navvy this process is greatly simplified. Just like Google Maps for the roads, a sailor can get a trip planned at the click of a button. Where Google Maps uses real-time traffic information, savvy navvy uses real-time weather forecasts and is designed to work with multiple data sources. With integrated tidal calculations coming soon, dangerous human errors will be a thing of the past.
Jelte Liebrand, CEO and Founder of savvy navvy stated: “As an avid sailor for many years it wasn’t until I started working for Google Maps that I realised how little sailing navigation tools actually help you. The computer shows you all these extremely complex pictures and leaves the actual computing up to you. If professional sailing navigators like Team Vesta in the Volvo Ocean Race can run aground, it shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with marine navigation software today. If even they can get it wrong, how are you and I supposed to get it right and enjoy a family sailing holiday?”
The number of people going sailing, particularly within the charter industry, has steadily increased with more people wanting the experience of sailing without the responsibility of owning a boat. Last year, 140 million people across the US, Canada, EU and Oceania took part in boating activities. With the leisure sailing industry exceeding an estimated value of €100 billion with €18 billion being spent on boating accessories and equipment.
In its first year of trading, over 10,000 users across more than 100 countries worldwide signed up to savvy navvy, indicating a desire of everyday sailors for a new and better way to navigate.
Oliver Cotterell, a Circumnavigator and Yachtmaster instructor, commented: “I’ve been teaching Yachtmaster courses for several years and more recently I ran a marina on Oban in Scotland. We regularly had to help vessels who ran aground after people made fundamental errors in their planning.
While all sailors should know how to navigate to a high standard, the reality is that many cut corners and ultimately do not realise the danger they put themselves in. It’s a great idea to have an app like savvy navvy that enables people to cross-check their plans, ensuring they haven’t made any mistakes.”
Jelte and Co-Founder Kevin O’Neill go back 18 years, when they worked together for Symbian, creating the mobile operating system of the (then) future. When Jelte explained his vision for savvy navvy Kevin jumped onboard; adding his years of commercial and software licensing experience to the team. The rest of the savvy navvy team also boast an impressive resume with a Senior UX designer from Google Maps, a growth hacker from TomTom and a media specialist who has worked with the Volvo Ocean Race.
Gaining an impressive number of users around the globe within its first year, it is clear that this young business has tapped into some pent-up demand. In order to support the development of a number of community-driven projects, the company today also launched a crowdfunding campaign on leading investment platform, Seedrs.