The Team Behind the Best Boating App!

Find out more about the passionate team of sailors and computer scientists that are the brains behind savvy navvy.

Jelte Liebrand - CEO & Founder of savvy navvy
Jelte Liebrand
CEO & Founder

Jelte took part in the Clipper Round the World yacht race in 2014 onboard Jamaica. He had plenty of sailing experience, but racing from San Francisco to New York was quite a bit different from anything he'd done before. Sailing thousands of miles off-shore, he learnt how difficult navigation can be. Updating charts, downloading weather forecasts, predicting boat speed, avoiding squalls with 50+ knots of wind; it all took hours and hours below deck, plotting courses on a computer whilst hanging on at a 45 degree heel. Jelte became convinced there should be an easier way.

He spent two years researching and building the foundation for savvy navvy and in July 2017 he left his job at Google to get his vision of easy, safe navigation out to every sailor on the water. The rest they say is history!

Kevin O'Neill - Co-founder and Commercial Director
Kevin O'Neill
Co-founder & Commercial Director

Kevin and Jelte go back 18 years, when they worked together for Symbian, creating the mobile operating system of the (then) future.

Having travelled the world for work and pleasure and worked in many industries for large companies, Kevin realised that what he really likes is working in small teams where he can be really hands-on and make a meaningful contribution. So when Jelte explained his vision for savvy navvy and how the app would disrupt the sailing tech world, Kevin jumped onboard immediately.

He has broad business experience across different sectors, including energy, chemicals, hardware and software. He especially enjoys interacting with customers of many lands, solving new problems and negotiating and managing contracts.

In his spare time Kevin is an amateur photographer and drone pilot. He is also a textbook neophyte sailor who looks forward to testing the company yacht. We haven’t told him we haven’t got one yet.

Alex Ostler - Chief Marketing Officer
Alex Ostler
Chief Marketing Officer

Alex began her tech journey at Google as part of the engineering team behind Maps and Earth. Post-Google, Alex has steered growth for several tech startups, spanning from edtech to fintech.

With a shockingly terrible sense of direction and thirst for travel and adventure, digital mapping (on land or water) is the #1 piece of technology she truly couldn’t live with out. Based in Colorado, savvy navvy expands her water-sport activities beyond mountain lakes and rivers to the open sea.

Mikhail Vysokovskiy (Misha) - Head of Product at savvy navvy
Mikhail Vysokovskiy (Misha)
Head of Product

At savvy navvy, Misha combines his two passions - navigation and boating. He’s a map fan, having worked in geoservices at Yandex for 10 years, where he led a popular car navigation app. In 2018, Misha also became a boater and later founded the first and only boat-sharing club in Russia. Misha moved to London in 2022 via a UK Global Talent track. With a dream to bring together his love and experience of mapping, sailing and user-centric design, he now leads product development at savvy navvy. And dances the rest of the time.

Bart our Lead Engineer at savvy navvy
Bartosz Hejman
Lead Engineer

Bartosz Hejman, based in Warsaw, Poland, is the driving force behind savvy navvy's App Development Team. He transitioned from a successful basketball career to become a code genius, showcasing adaptability and determination. Bartosz leads the team in creating a user-friendly and innovative navigation app, combining his sportsmanship spirit with technical expertise. In the heart of Warsaw, he's steering us towards a future of precise and innovative navigation.

David Cusworth - Community Partnership Manager
David Cusworth
Partnership and Innovation

Meet David, our super awesome Partnership and Innovation lead!

David has worked on and around the sea pretty much his whole life. Joining the Royal Navy at 16, racing around the world as part of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race then working shore-side on multiple round the world races. David is an RYA Yachtmaster, has sailed over 100,000 miles and is passionate about the water, sailing and seamanship.

David will work closely with the team to grow our network of savvy users and commercial partnerships around the globe to help us grow over the coming years.

Toby Jakes - Head of Finance
Toby Jakes
Head of Finance

Toby Jakes is the financial anchor behind savvy navvy, responsible for steering us through the complex waters of budgeting, forecasting, and financial planning. Based between London and Lymington, Toby brings his financial expertise to ensure savvy navvy to ensure we reach our goal of making boating safe and fun for everyone. In addition to his financial acumen, Toby is an avid motorboater and music enthusiast, infusing his passion for both into his work and leisure time.

Jesús Rodríguez Pérez - Flutter Engineer
Jesús Rodríguez Pérez
Flutter Engineer

Jesús, based in Spain, is our Flutter Engineer. He combines technical expertise with creativity to craft seamless and visually appealing mobile applications. With Jesús on our team, we're charting a course to deliver outstanding mobile experiences.

Chris Whatley - Growth Hacker
Chris Whatley
Growth Hacker

Chris found sailing in his early twenties spending most weekends racing yachts along the UK’s East Coast sailing out of Burnham-On-Crouch, doing both inshore around the cans racing and offshore races all over the North Sea. A move to the South Coast in 2010 has allowed him to move his passion for sailing into his work life as a digital-focused marketing manager.

As our Growth Hacker Chris is tasked with the continued growth of the savvy navvy community, overseeing our marketing activity with a focus on paid and organic activity.

When not sailing or Thursday night racing in Lymington, you can find Chris cycling around the New Forest both on and off-road, paddle boarding, eating Welsh cakes and trying to stop his kids from ruling the house!

Tim Jones - Product Design Advisor
Tim Jones
Product Design Advisor

Tim and Jelte worked together at Google My Business; the team that helps put businesses on Google Maps. Before that he was the principle designer for YouTube mobile apps. A cartographer by trade, there is nothing that Tim can't turn his design skills too and we hope you like his design touches in the savvy navvy app as much as we do.

He has been sailing since his teens when he learnt to sail a dinghy on the Firth of Forth in a force 8. He has crewed regularly on a concrete 40ft yacht out of Pin Mill, Ipswich and now has his own sailing canoe.

Surya Anbarasi Vanniarthilagam - Routing Engineer
Surya Anbarasi Vanniarthilagam
Routing Engineer

With a strong background in routing technology, Surya plays a pivotal role in optimising and streamlining our navigation solutions. As a Routing Engineer, Surya excels in creating efficient and reliable routes for our users.

Surya completed her Bachelor's degree in India and then went on to work for Mercedes Benz R&D as a software engineer she developed her love for algorithms and programming. After completing her Master's degree in computer science in Germany Surya joined RideOS to work on their routing engine. Since then Surya joined savvy navvy.

“Although I have zero experience or knowledge of sailing, the task of routing through open seas is a fascinating challenge. I can't ask for a better set of people or a better company to work for.

As someone who enjoys travelling and experiencing different cultures, I can't believe I missed out on sailing so far.”

Andy Sykes - Growth Marketing Lead
Andy Sykes
Growth Marketing Lead

Andy grew up in a seaside town in Dublin and, having spent his childhood sailing, kayaking and rowing, is passionate about all things related to the water. Prior to joining savvy navvy he worked in various marketing and business development roles for technology companies in both Germany and Ireland.

He met Jelte through a network for Google alumni and, after researching the app in more detail, became convinced that he and the team were on to something special. Following weeks of consistent nagging, he managed to convince Jelte to give him a job and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ivo Dimchev - Customer Support
Ivo Dimchev
Customer Support

Our man in Spain, eagerly awaiting to deal with all the customer support queries and questions. Ivo’s background, experience and multiple languages provide the backbone of our support team helping customers with queries, questions and issues, providing valuable input to the Engineering Team to progress the app’s development.

Living just outside Valencia, surrounded by marinas and boat-enthusiasts, he discovered the beauty of boating after he joined savvy navvy's team. He, his wife and two kids spend their evenings near the coast, but you can always find him available to answer your question, help you with your technical inquiry or just for a chat.

Elena Petru - Geospatial Data Engineer
Elena Petru
Geospatial Data Engineer

Elena Petru, our Geospatial Data Engineer, is originally from Romania but she now calls Exeter home, trading in the Black Sea for the English Riviera. Elena has a longstanding geomatics background spanning from consultancy with multinational Jacobs and leading UK prop-tech company Landmark.

Elena specialises in harnessing the power of geospatial data to drive innovation and enhance our navigation solutions. As a Geospatial Data Engineer, Elena brings a keen analytical mind to the team. She's adept at transforming complex geographic data into actionable insights, ensuring that our navigation tools are not only accurate but also user-friendly.

“Inherently curious, I've always been drawn to the uncharted. Shifting from land to marine geodata was an exciting transition; the ocean, after all, embodies the ultimate unknown, so I’ve found my niche as a Geospatial Data Engineer at savvy navvy maintaining our data pipelines and deriving valuable insights.

In my free time, I'm a globe-trotting adventurer, forever searching for the next thrill and that perfect, elusive beach spot."

Isabel Johnston - PR Manager savvy navvy
Isabel Johnston
PR Manager

Isabel used to row the canals of the Danish capital in Copenhagen. She has since exchanged the Danish waters for the UK’s Solent, spending her working life on generating PR within the marine industry.

Isabel promoted the Clipper Round the World in media across the globe during the 2012-2013 race working closely with David. They’ve recently reconnected about various PR opportunities, and she has since joined the savvy navvy team, as our PR Manager getting our the savvy navvy app in front of journalists and media outlets around the world.

Matthew Holwill - Lead Geospatial Research Scientist
Matthew Holwill
Lead Geospatial Research Scientist

Matt started sailing dinghies in his early teens in North Wales and went on to become an RYA senior dinghy instructor.

After earning a PhD in physics he wanted to combine his love of sailing and research. Matt is responsible for modelling tidal currents and extracting meaningful data from satellite imagery to enhance the savvy navvy experience.

He's also always looking for a good opportunity to get out on the water, so if you need a crew for your yacht in Texas, please drop him a line.

Hannah Cotterell - Community Manager
Hannah Postma
Community Manager

Born in Bermuda and raised in the Caribbean Hannah spent the better part of her life living on or near boats! An avid sailor since the age of two, Hannah mixes her knack for storytelling with a love for the sea.

"I love working with savvy navvy to help shake up the future of marine navigation. The ocean and boats have been a part of my life for longer than I can remember so working every day to make that environment a better place for everyone and to tell the stories of this incredible team and our member is an honour."

In her spare time Hannah loves travelling the world, sailing to new and exciting destinations, surfing and generally living outside with her husband and rescue dog Kiwi. Hannah also claims to be a part time pirate.


Didn’t find your perfect position?

We’re open to add new players to our team, if you think you can add value to our company, please contact us!