#humansofyachting – Gabriella Richardson

Gabriella Richardson

#humansofyachting – Gabriella Richardson

Gabriella Richardson

#humansofyachting

#humansofyachting – Gabriella Richardson

The former charter broker recently set up Yachting Ventures to support innovative start-ups in an industry close to her heart.

By Dominique Afacan | 16 June 2020

“I grew up in Mallorca and went to school there. My parents weren’t yachties but lots of my friends’ parents were, so it was a running thread through my childhood. I went to study law at university in the UK, but it made sense to come back to Mallorca for the summers and I ended up doing a few seasons on board as a stewardess. That was how my career in yachting began.

My first experience was on a 30-metre yacht and I still remember being down in the crew mess, where the owner had left a 50-year anniversary book from yacht charter company Burgess. I picked it up and flicked through it and it opened my eyes to this massive industry that I’d only ever really seen from a crew perspective. I’d never had an insight into the fact that there was a whole shore-based side to the industry. I was intrigued.

After university, I ended up joining Camper & Nicholsons as a charter broker, which I loved. I organised a few really memorable trips – a couple of honeymoons, and a charter in the Aeolian Islands for an elderly couple who had their whole family on board, including their grown-up kids. I had more families chartering than anything else – I remember one guy chartered two yachts; one for his family and another for a work colleague and his family in the Bahamas.

#humansofyachting – Gabriella Richardson

Aeolian Islands

#humansofyachting – Gabriella Richardson

Aeolian Islands

During my time at Camper & Nicholsons, I also sat on the board at YPY (Young Professionals in Yachting). Again, it showed me how broad-reaching the superyacht industry was. I met people from insurance, management, design, recruitment, charter, sales and more – it was a good way to understand exactly how everything fit together.

In the back of my mind, I’d always had an interest in start-ups, and after my time at Camper & Nicholsons, the opportunity arose to join SeedLegals, a legal tech start-up. I joined as number 11 but we quickly grew to around 65 people. That was my crash course with the start-up world and it opened my eyes to the degree of investment there is in start-ups. The UK is a particularly active space because it’s very tax efficient to make investments into early-stage companies.

#humansofyachting – Gabriella Richardson
#humansofyachting – Gabriella Richardson

Yachting Ventures is a product of my previous experience in the yachting space and my experience of working with start-ups. It’s a ten-week, online, industry-specific accelerator which is where the trend is going. I saw that there was a gap in the market for people needing help to do good or innovative things in the industry, especially from a tech perspective. I am also an advocate for green initiatives and I am looking to partner with a charity at the moment which would demonstrate that we support that kind of start-up.

We have quite a broad team on board, including Matt Ovenden from Borrow a Boat, who is one of our mentors. He’s a serial entrepreneur now and has raised about £3m through crowdfunding. There’s also Timothy Hamilton who is the director of Lürssen Americas; he previously ran a property start-up so he has the right experience and is a great advocate of innovation in the yachting space. We’ve had about 20 applications since we launched two months ago – and it’s been really interesting to see what’s coming through the door. Lots of them have some form of tech connection. The industry has been so receptive – I’m excited for the future.”

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