In this episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with Adam Allore, the CEO of Wavve Boating, an innovative marine navigation app that is transforming the boating industry. Adam shared with us the origins of Wavve Boating and how the app has grown into a powerful tool for boaters of all levels.
We delved into the unique features of Wavve Boating, including its real-time mapping system that helps users navigate the water with ease, up-to-date weather conditions, and the ability to pinpoint essential points of interest such as marinas, restaurants, and fishing spots. We also discussed how Wavve Boating is helping to improve safety on the water by providing boaters with reliable navigation tools that can prevent accidents and save lives.
Adam also shared with us some of the challenges facing the boating industry today, including the surge of first-time boaters and the increase in boating accidents. He highlighted how Wavve Boating is working to address these issues by providing a user-friendly app that makes boating more accessible and safer for everyone.
Overall, this episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in the boating industry, marine navigation, and technology innovation. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Adam Allore and gain valuable insights into the exciting world of Wavve Boating.
Brought to you by SHIPSHAPE
Farah [00:00:09] Hello and welcome to the Shipshape podcast, a series of podcasts where we meet amazing people and talk about their experiences, personal, technical and all related to the maritime world. Come and dive in. Dive in, Dive in.
Merrill Charette [00:00:36] Today on the Shipshape podcast, we are speaking with Adam Allore, CEO of the Marine navigation app Wavve Boating. We hear his story of being an entrepreneur in the marine space, the trials and victories of digitally changing the industry. Your two co-hosts today are Merrell Charette. I’m a liveaboard on a Ta-Shing Tashiba 36 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Talha [00:01:00] What’s up, ladies and gentlemen? Just tell her by day I am aboard my 40 foot powerboat in Virginia. And we have Adam on the show today. And welcome to the show, Adam.
Adam Allore [00:01:09] Hey, guys. Thanks so much for having me today. Happy to be here.
Merrill Charette [00:01:13] So, Adam, where are you recording this from?
Adam Allore [00:01:16] I am coming from Ontario, Canada, particularly Kingston. So anyone familiar with the water geography here? That’s right. Where Lake Ontario feeds into the Saint Lawrence River.
Merrill Charette [00:01:29] Well, I’m assuming it must be even colder than Boston.
Talha [00:01:32] Because I was going to say.
Adam Allore [00:01:33] Yeah, things are stereotypically Canadian right now. Snowy, cold. Honestly, fairly unpleasant.
Merrill Charette [00:01:39] We were going an interview with this guy, Cam Heaps, who has an electric company and they’re also based in Canada. And I always found it interesting what the boating scene is like up in Canada. Can you talk a little bit about how do people use their boats up there?
Adam Allore [00:01:55] Yeah, I mean, first off, on the scene, it’s it’s close to it. And I can say I actually had the pleasure of going on Cam’s data boat, Electric boat. I guess this would have been two summers ago. So I’ve been following closely with his company and filtering. But in terms of the recreational boating space, I’d say it’s quite thriving, I think offhand. But I think per capita there’s we’ve got one of the most amount of people who are actually active in boating, lots of lakes, lots of good rivers for boating. So it really is a big part of of the summer here and of the culture here.
Talha [00:02:30] And short season there. And how long is boating season?
Adam Allore [00:02:32] Yeah, Yeah. You really want to try and maximize it. I’d say it kicks off May long weekend and then we’ll go until about Labor Day weekend is the primary boating time. Know that being said, I like to try and keep my boat as long as possible and push into November or December if I’m really lucky. Hmm.
Talha [00:02:51] So sounds like you’ve been boating for a while. Tell us how you got into boating.
Adam Allore [00:02:55] Yeah, it’s. I grew up in a boating family fortune I regard. So my parents always had my sister and I out on the water. There’s some pictures of them having a crib in the back of a small 14 foot group where I was kind of crawling around at the time so you could cast as sort of born on the water. I spent a lot of time bouncing around the Saint Lawrence River. And so, you know, right from 12, 13 years of age, I started fixing up boats, learning how to fiberglass just so I could get anything on the water flow and just fell in love with the freedom experience and being out there. That transition to working at marinas. As I got a bit older and ever since, I’ve just always been around the river, always been around the water and love it.
Merrill Charette [00:03:41] Well, the story is certainly a little bit deeper than that. You know, you went to college and got a mechanical engineering degree because you might have grown up boating, but it seems that academically you were starting to get into other things and then you came back to boating. So what is it about the industry that you really kind of wanted to come back to?
Adam Allore [00:04:02] Yeah, you know, kind of start here then. So as I highlighted there, I did work at Marinas to pay for my schooling degree. And one of the challenges that I was seeing at the marina, particularly where I was working, was it was a very treacherous body of water. And I would see boaters of very experienced levels come in and they were struggling to read nautical charts, and I’d see the results of that. They’d come back to the marina, lower units ripped off and hoping that Marina could in 24 hours, you know, passing them the bad news, like, sorry, this is a much bigger job. So I’ve seen this a lot. And then I was also one of my roles at the marina beyond, you know, fueling boats and working on them. I would help people get familiar with talking like show them around on the waterway. And I was getting assholes and questions all the time, you know, where’s the beach, where the good spots do more? Where can I go fishing with the kids? Same answers. And I’ve always kind of using traditional navigation tips like, you know, line up that pine tree on that island and then see that what, cabin over there head to north and then head west and you’ll find this you know.
Talha [00:05:11] This is.
Adam Allore [00:05:12] Some people way before. Yeah. Of everything that we’ve got today. So it was just very much word of mouth as Mary was highlighting. I then went to school and trained as a mechanical engineer. I worked in the industries of I did work in the marine space doing some vessel. I worked in bulk material handling so big conveyor systems that would go on big cargo ships, which is really fun. And then before starting Wave, I also worked in the transportation industry. So metros, monorails, things related to that. And what happens ended up saving up some money, buying my own used boat again and got back on the water and I started using the solutions that were available to me at the time to navigate the ice water. And I felt like the problems that I remember seeing when I worked at a marina, you know, six, seven years prior.
Talha [00:06:10] It was still I think that.
Adam Allore [00:06:12] Was yeah, yeah. I was like, it’s been.
Talha [00:06:14] 20 years now.
Adam Allore [00:06:16] So so, you know, I think this could be better. So how this sort of progressed was one weekend I wasn’t looking to start a company or necessarily get into entrepreneurship per se, but I just I was always fascinated with maps and I had this concept where I was just going to stay home all weekend long in our townhouse, and I was going to grab some mapping technologies, those familiar with how I was going to build a chart that I would use as a bowler, and I just thought, I’m going to throw out the norms that I know of how an article looks like and just reevaluate this problem kind of from first principles and looming concept that kind of came from this thought that had was like, what if I could just highlight clearly to me with my vessel, which has a three foot dressed areas that I can’t go, So show me the depths that are less than three feet from the contours that are less than three feet in and a clear red color yet so that I could see it.
Talha [00:07:18] Yeah.
Adam Allore [00:07:19] Exactly. And then, you know, I was like, well, what about the booties and the lateral markers and markers? Like what if they just looked like I actually see them on the water? So, you know, my brains and having seen more visible signs.
Talha [00:07:33] They just hide them on the maps. Otherwise, I like that.
Adam Allore [00:07:36] Yeah. And then what I want to do is just take out, you know, there’s there’s so much information in a traditional nautical chart, it’s sort of a one size fits all where you’ve got, you know, recreational boys are using commercial or you’re using the same people who are running power lines between islands using the same data set. So I’m like, I’m just going to rip out everything that I don’t care about again as a book or I’m gonna build this map. So kind of classical, you know, stay up all night, work away on this map sort of story, and then end up making something that is like, you know, I use this, I really like this. And then there was a local boat show in the area, and that’s where things started to progress into into the entrepreneurial side where I was like, you know what? I want to see if this is a problem for anyone else. I think this is cool, but like, does anyone else think this is cool?
Talha [00:08:23] So I borrowed a key that you see there too, right? Because like, it clearly is a problem enough for one person, right? Yeah. And you built it to the standards that you would be willing to use. Great. You’re like, so far, this solves my problem. And now let’s go see if there are more people like me.
Adam Allore [00:08:41] Exactly. And I think with a lot of companies now, that’s really such a key step is going from, okay, I sold my problem, let’s fix the problem for a market size of one. Now I need to investigate. Is this a bigger problem and is there a market size is larger than this? So that’s where this you know, the timing worked out really well for me where there was a local boat show. So what? I dated a part of Boots and I made up a company at this time called Waves and went to the show. And with the help of my brother in law, who’s got some more mobile experience or dome experience, and I we took this map that I built and just simply put it on a website so you could just sort of pan around. And then what we did with this web page is we add it as a home page onto some iPads. So it looks like it was an app, but it really was just a interactive map on a web that’s.
Talha [00:09:31] A baby steps. Nice.
Adam Allore [00:09:33] Exactly. Exactly. But it gave the sense that it was it was an application of like an approximate iPad, split them on stands, you know, created this logo, this company called Wave. You know, it was it was real to from an outsider’s perspective. And I just took as much feedback as I could over the course that weekend at this boat show. And it was it was quite incredible. There’s a lot of people looking at this map, looking at this area.
Talha [00:09:57] Selling anything, though, or where you just like promoting a way.
Adam Allore [00:10:01] I ended up, you know, thinking like, how do I take advantage of this opportunity and see this positive feedback? So what I did, anyone who was like, I love this, I was taking their emails. There was nothing being sold at this point in time. I was communicating that there’s this app called Wave and there was these people coming up and they were trying to find us in the App Store and like, Where’s this application? I love this map. And then it’s like, Well, we’re just in beta. Give me your email and I’ll let you know when it’s ready. And that was how I established our first set of customers. I was able. To acquire a couple of hundred emails over this course, a weekend of this. I have a group of people who are excited by this basic math, and that was sort of the inclination of like, okay, you know, I’m on to something here. I think I’m going to pursue this further. I was still working as an engineer, but this was a bigger problem that needed to be solved. And all year and pursuing this time.
Talha [00:10:53] I just had a quick side note is that like these boat shows are famous for like 90% of the people not being boaters with the attendees. So the people who are signing up for this, like, were the boaters, you know? Or were they just like, you know, the random population, but like, oh, that’s a cool map.
Adam Allore [00:11:10] There is definitely primary voters who are who are sort of signing up. I agreeing with me as opposed to a lot of people coming by and just want to look at the boats and kick the tires and that sort of thing. So there was certainly an element of that. But a lot of family voters were taking interest in the allocation. So usually it would be, you know, husband and wife, couple kids. They seemed to like the solution. And that is also still to date is kind of where we made our target market decision as well.
Merrill Charette [00:11:39] Okay. So you go to this boat show, you know, there’s a lot of interest. Then what? Because you’re not coming from a technology background. How exactly do you start building this app in the first place?
Adam Allore [00:11:51] Yeah. So what I was able to do was recognize, okay, the map part I can do that now is, you know, geographic information system, tech. I could work out and I could build a solution for that. I needed help with taking that map and bring it into a mobile environment. So that’s when I was just reaching out within my network, reaching out within the province of Ontario to see who is available to come on and do some mobile development. And I found a guy who wanted to help me build the iOS application of this, where we would take this map and we would add further to it and do the first iOS release. So what I found this guy, we got along well, we started working together and we were able to release a very early. I wouldn’t even call it like a beta product. It was like earlier than an Alpha for any crappy Geocities solution out the door into the App store later that summer. But it gave me something to then go back to all those people to the boat show to say, Hey, what do you think? You know, like, I know it’s not pretty, but are we solving some problems here? And start taking that feedback. And that was really sort of the start of getting something out and starting this iterative, continuous feedback loop.
Talha [00:13:11] Did you have any investment at this point?
Adam Allore [00:13:13] At this point, no. No. So I bootstrapped the company for the first two years of its inception.
Talha [00:13:20] And then the developer. How were you paying him?
Adam Allore [00:13:22] Primarily from the salary that I had is working as an engineer. You know, I had a little bit of luxury there that I worked in industry for six, seven years leading up to founding Wave. So I had a bit of cash on hand and there was a period of time where I was working the two. I was still working as an engineer. 9 to 5, I’d come home, work 6 to 12 on wave boating. So it was it was an interesting, I guess, eight, nine month period of time where I was juggling those two roles.
Talha [00:13:53] Until you take this is the second boat show and this time it clicks with people.
Adam Allore [00:13:57] Yeah, I think there was there was further iteration on that. We went to a new corner International Boat show still with an iOS application for the iteration on this, this type of solution and garnering more and more feedback. What I think was the start of a really big break for us was after the first summer where I just had the iOS application would in the store party recreational products, the makers of sea to will use the application and they liked what they were seeing and they reached out to see if we’d be interested in doing an integration onto a future model.
Talha [00:14:36] IT That’s crazy. They just reached out to you out of the blue. You didn’t reach out to them or anything?
Adam Allore [00:14:42] That’s correct. Yeah. Okay. I don’t know all the details, how it came. I think I heard one of their engineers had used it one weekend and brought it up to them that we’re looking at the available solution.
Talha [00:14:53] So really.
Adam Allore [00:14:55] That was sort of the start of a big, big break for us. They received it, of course, you know, do this integration.
Talha [00:15:01] It’s great to see those big like they tell our listeners about it. So it’s like just in case you don’t know what to do is.
Adam Allore [00:15:08] Like what to us? Yes. What does he do is it’s a personal watercraft. So kind of a jet ski. I think they’re the largest manufacturer definitely in North America and I think one of the largest in the world.
Talha [00:15:19] Yeah. And they make cool looking stuff. But I think that’s one of the reasons the number one.
Adam Allore [00:15:24] Yeah. Yeah. And I think they’re always sort of a forward facing company, especially after working with them for the past few years. They’re always looking at what’s next. And I think that’s really help them stay on top as a company. So that’s.
Talha [00:15:37] Cool though. So then see do so they said, we’re going to put this on each of our jet skis just like a local version, or was it like connected and everything connected?
Adam Allore [00:15:46] So very much the technology that we worked on is kind of like CarPlay or Android Auto if you use a cooler, but for a C2 interface. So what’s exciting about this is the C2 really just has to have a fairly simplistic LCD screen, but all the computing and all the work is done by the writers. The beauty of that is also the software that’s on that writer’s phone is always updating. You know, as we’re pushing updates, it’s that person. So that experience can always get better and better and smart.
Merrill Charette [00:16:21] Smarter, not, you know, locked in to the fact that, you know, there’s this new software that comes out on this piece of technology on the jet ski that has to be somehow updated.
Adam Allore [00:16:32] Yeah, exactly. You can remove that. You can update by the web. And I think it made a lot of sense for a company like C2 and BRP. You know, they’re great at manufacturing these products that delight customers on the water. They also have us ski shoes or sleds in the snow. Great at that. And then they also are in the road with motorbike type solutions. But that’s what they do and that’s what they’re great at. And so partnering with them was great because we’re focused on the software element and the navigation elements and there was a really great alignment there.
Talha [00:17:05] And did you already have the design esthetic before see the brochure? Like did they help figure it out or was it really looking at how do you make that happen?
Adam Allore [00:17:16] Yeah, start with the map and then with see do what we had to do, which was an interesting design challenge, was, you know, your phone, you can interact it with all the touch type gestures. Well, the way it works on a C2 is you’re actually controlling it with like a four way joystick, kind of like your TV remote. So we had to rethink the application again and think about how do you control this with with a four way controller versus having all the gesture types. So there is a lot of back and forth in that design process to to make something that would work on a different screen that’s integrated directly into the C2 vessel itself, which.
Talha [00:17:56] I designed, though the original design came up with that was that, you.
Adam Allore [00:18:01] Know, I can’t take credit for that really great designers on our team.
Talha [00:18:05] And this is also at this point though by see do point you have investment now?
Adam Allore [00:18:10] No, still actually hadn’t had any such investment. So I was still bootstrapping, still getting this company off the ground and acquiring our early customers, just purely self-funded. Now the product that we sell it does have a revenue element to it. It is subscription based. So we were starting to get a little bit of early revenue, not enough to to keep the lights on per se, but there was something there as well. So after securing this deal with PRP, you know, there was we had to build something associated with that.
Merrill Charette [00:18:44] Must have been a watershed moment, you know, excitement and like, oh man, how do we do this?
Adam Allore [00:18:50] It was yeah, it was exciting. And then and then you want to puke, you know it in the mix. There was like, okay, yeah, this is, this is incredible, but it’s go time, right? And then this one, we didn’t have an Android application either, but I knew that we were on to something this time, that there was this, this big industry giant whose interest to what we’re doing was gaining early traction. So it was then after that point did reach out and did some investment with Angels in the province of Ontario area and got the first bit of cash into the company.
Merrill Charette [00:19:23] And how was it received? You know, just in general, when we talk about the marine industry and kind of the innovations and investments, it’s really hard to get anything off the ground in the first place. And many apps and platforms that have come around in our space have died on the vine. So I’m just wondering how you portrayed yourself, because obviously these investors were like Marine. What?
Adam Allore [00:19:47] Yeah, yeah, it’s absolutely challenging. And you’re right, I think the positives that I had going for me was getting something out the door really early. I was able to then ask for investment in a company that wasn’t just just an idea. And a couple of people, you know, I had early customers who used a beta product who were interested. Then we had a signed deal with AAJ for Re manufacturer, so there’s already this early traction that was just from blood, sweat and tears and a bit of my own funding to get it to the point that then I could sell a much better story of like, I’m going to make this happen. And that really helped. And then. Secondly, the angels in this area and talking on the boating community, Canada, all of our angels are boaters. They’re interested in what we’re doing. And it’s for them, it’s certainly they’re interested in our financial success as a company. But I also have great personal relationships with them. We talk about boating. They love it. They like to be in that sort of space. So for them, it was more than just a traditional investment in that regard.
Merrill Charette [00:20:56] Well, one thing that obviously sets you apart, you know, when we start talking about these social apps that are coming into the space, it seems that everyone in their mother is coming up with another socially based platform. But you went the route of focusing on navigational being the main thing that would drive people to the product and then all the additional secondary things are just great add ons. Can you talk about like the lessons learned in the progression of how the business started to kind of where it’s at now?
Adam Allore [00:21:28] Absolutely. And it’s been bumps and bruises to get to that point. You know, despite starting this initial concept was like, I want to build a map that I can read. And that’s a very navigation focused element. I thought we would go very community hard core at the start. So very much like you’re saying there, Merrill, where okay, we’re going to we’re going to build out this community and that’s going to be the first thing that we’re really start pushing. And, you know, I walked down that road for a little bit and what I learned was no one cares about your community If you can’t get them from point A to point B safely on the water. That’s the need that was bringing people into a voting app like ours. And so we had to deliver on that promise first. And then there’s interest in this community that you’re building and advancing that marine experience. So then I started shifting that focus of saying, you know, we’re going to tackle that challenge of how can you get, you know, make that easier to get from point A to point B in the water. Lots of things to improve there. But focus on that. Let’s focus our innovation and technology on that and then we’ll start building that community further. On the other side of that. And, you know, this is a process that we’re still working through today. You know what feel like the navigation element, and we’ve tackled all of it. We’re now focusing more on some of those community aspects.
Talha [00:22:47] So, Adam, tell me about like especially based on what you just said, tell me more about like the competition that existed back when you started and before that, Like it was just before that was just a big website. You just had the Lawrences and Raytheon types, the displays, building the boats, and then slowly you eventually, like, since I’ve been boating, have been using the avionics, for example, or there was the active captain. I think it’s a little more recent. So but again, active captain was bought by somebody big again, Garmin or something, right? So like there’s that progression and then you are literally a brand new player coming in, upsetting the market. Like how is that whole experience and does tell us more about that competitive landscape?
Adam Allore [00:23:31] Yeah, sure thing. And I think, you know, stepping back to the first part of that, when we started the company, there was sort of like three buckets of navigation solutions. And people had it was either, you know, nothing, which is a large portion of people out on the water.
Talha [00:23:46] Unfortunately. Right.
Adam Allore [00:23:48] Yeah. That, that was, that’s the majority. So lots of opportunities for improvement. And then there were the people with which our partners and I used to sell trip bloggers and where, you know, you’d buy the chip and every $300 that ship and anyone updated the next year and well that’s another $300 you know and then you.
Talha [00:24:07] Just it was a monopoly then. Really. That’s, that’s the only way to describe it.
Adam Allore [00:24:12] Yeah. It was very hardware focused too. And then, you know, there’s still our bloggers and there’s tons of value in. But it is I mean.
Talha [00:24:19] You literally get locked into a system back then, right? Like if you got this chart, you’d have to have that map and you have to have that blueprint.
Adam Allore [00:24:26] Right, exactly. Yeah. And you know, they were they weren’t really fun to use. You know, I don’t think anyone walked away from using a plotter and was. Yeah.
Talha [00:24:35] That was and also.
Adam Allore [00:24:36] How you know any better. And then certainly there were there was an avionics and you know what I think Navy Onyx did phenomenally was the got an out to market in the early days the app store so 2008 where they said why can’t we take a quarter like solution and put it on a phone and what a great value prop that is for boaters game changer and the thousands of dollars I can have this on the phone and it makes a ton of sense. And I still think, you know, Navy Onyx is a good fit for a lot of boaters and there’s other competitors in the space. And I think those can be really good fits for for other people. I welcome competition. I just think there’s a massive market and there’s a type of person who wants a solution that is easier to use and as a community element to it. And that’s where we’re ultimately we fit in. And so, you know, there is an element of us disrupting. But I also think that what. We’re trying to do here is, you know, when you go to the grocery store and you’re looking for a laundry detergent, there’s not just one solution on the shelf. There’s multiple solution. So that’s, you know, with how many people are out on the water, particularly in North America here, there should be more solutions. And that’s what we’re bringing to the table.
Merrill Charette [00:25:47] I downloaded your app and, you know, I was taking a look at the Boston Harbor chart. And I mean, frankly, I thought it was exceptionally well done. It was so easy to read. So I can see that through the experience of how do you make a usable platform using just a d-pad for a jet ski. It made the whole app just in general an easy to use thing. But I want to ask you through this whole entrepreneurship journey, there’s certainly been a ton of challenges developing and scaling. Can you tell a story of one of those extreme stories of trying to get this thing off the ground?
Adam Allore [00:26:24] Yeah, I think, you know, there’s certainly been some technical challenges like any company getting off the ground that early days. One of the ways that I was trying to get exposure to waves in the early days when didn’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing was through press releases. I realized there was an opportunity to get some content out within journals, journalists within the marine space, because I found a lot of the stuff that was getting rid of the time was was fairly dry. It was marketing Marines at ports, got some more horsepower or something like that. You know, we we’ve read that story before. So I thought, you know, I’m going to approach journalists and see if they’d be excited to write about this new type of solution. And there was definitely an interest in there. And exactly which was when the boating industry or one of the other publications, they took it up in an article and it got really great exposure. We then got a lot of associated downloads and a lot of activity at the back end. At the time, this was their early days. We weren’t quite ready for that. So there was definitely a big backlog on that particular Saturday. I remember just being on my laptop, stressing out like nothing else, pull my hair out as our server was down trying to figure out how to get things back up, got the team on the line. We’re sorting it out. So I vividly remember that Saturday morning just sitting and sweating my chair there. Lots of lessons learned from that. We didn’t have that. She was gone. No words to anyone listening there, but that was in.
Talha [00:27:48] Hindsight, right? Good problems in hindsight.
Adam Allore [00:27:51] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And I think, you know, one of the things that I’ve been sort of learning beyond just just the product itself, I think it’s so incredibly important to continue to listen to the customers. And I think that if there’s one thing that I think has been one of our strengths as a company, it has been listening to them and building a product for that type of solution. But one thing that I didn’t really sort of foresee would be such a important piece of it is really the team that you work with, even though you know that we’re a fairly small team. But it really is important to have a good culture and a good group of people to to work with a startup is is absolutely a slog. And a lot of people don’t talk about this, but sometimes it’s really boring and it’s about continuing to go through the boring, slogging stuff to keep the business moving and growing and going forward. And it’s really hard if you’re not working with good people. And so that became really apparent to me with, you know, early days went through some various transitions within our team. I’m really proud of the group that we have now, which is just I love to work with them every day and that makes going through those challenges so much easier.
Talha [00:29:04] So Adam, tell us, for somebody who wants to start like a marine app, tell us more about like dig, dig a little deeper into this team boom, as you were saying, how like organically, what does that look like? How big did it get? And then like you said, like some people that went away, like what were the key things you found that you needed in the beginning? Was it like you said you needed the developer first, right? And then what came after that?
Adam Allore [00:29:26] Yeah. So then we continue to fulfill our, our development stack. So we were iOS first and then I needed a developer to come on for Android. So we’re looking for an Android developer at time. Then as it was talking about, that other horror story clearly needs someone to help us on the backend side of things. And my strategy with our development has always been to do it in-house. I’m always trying to find people onto our team and then bring them on board and instead of contracting it out, there’s lots of challenges associated with that. But I always wanted to have a solution that we could iterate on really quickly, and I felt it would be very important that we have an internal team to be able to to execute on that vision. So front end back in developer and then at that point is able to start thinking about, you know, marketing, customer success, those other aspects of the business that are really important as we continue to scale. What I’ve found in sort of growing the team in terms of defining when you need that person and typically taking the approach of waiting until like you really felt that there was a hole in. Obsession and then bringing that person in. I know there’s other charges where certain companies will grab a bunch of people and figure out where where they sit. That’s kind of taken approach. It’s just see, you know, once I start screaming, okay, I need someone here, and that’s when we bring them in. And then in terms of finding the right people, I think this is you know, this is an ongoing challenge. I wish I knew how to do answers or knew to take it for this. My only takeaways that I can say with that is finding people that have cultural alignment with you who who are particularly passionate about the problem and are motivated by those types of things, those elements first, and then I’m more interested in, okay, what’s the technical background and the experience and those sort of skill sets where I’m usually leading with trying to is this one that when things go wrong, how are they going to handle themselves? So they’re going to be fun to work with. Are they excited by what we’re doing? I put more value in that than maybe the years of experience at the school that went to those types of things. And that’s been my approach so far. And I think it’s an ever learning experience.
Talha [00:31:36] Is is one of the questions. Do you love the water?
Adam Allore [00:31:40] It is. It is it you know, it’s not a hard necessity, but I love you know, we do have more people on the team who do appreciate boating and being on the water.
Talha [00:31:50] Ride as diver, everything. Yeah, it makes sense.
Adam Allore [00:31:53] How could it not, right.
Talha [00:31:54] Yeah. Yeah.
Merrill Charette [00:31:55] And so in terms of technology, you know, when we especially bring it up in relationship to the marine industry, people are generally kind of Luddites in marine and there’s a lot of education that has to happen. And even though you come up with the most amazing platformer app, you still have to communicate that to the larger marine industry. So you can can you talk a little bit on communication and how to educate and get the message across to these people that are established players in the industry?
Adam Allore [00:32:27] Yeah.
Talha [00:32:27] When was the press right that you said.
Adam Allore [00:32:30] That those elements of it and I think there’s there’s a greater thing here which is totally true particularly for the marine industry is is change is sometimes the hardest part just to change itself. You know, you can build something beautiful that fixes lots of problems, whatever, it’s software, hardware or what have you. But some people don’t want to change and that can be scary. And I think there is an element within the marine industry where it is a bit maybe a bit slower, a bit more of a laggard than other spaces. So that that’s a constant headwind. I think I do see the winds shifting, I guess pun intended here within that, but that is certainly a challenge. One of the methods that I’ve look to use to try and grow our company was was recognizing, okay, I’m not building this company out of the Silicon Valley where, you know, maybe we could have got millions and millions of dollars of initial seed funding and we could throw a lot of money at marketing it and go. That approach had to be a bit more strategic because that just wasn’t the opportunity available. And I wanted to grow this company where we are. So one of the ways that we’ve been sort of gaining exposure and making people aware of this solution, besides the press release strategy is working with various partners within the space and working with other innovative companies. So, you know, bombarding recreational products. Integration was a big part of that. That was my first sort of experience working with another marine industry partner and seeing the value in that, and it’s expanded further from there. So we work with Freedom Boat Club. Our first partnership with them was with Free Boat Club out of Tampa Bay, where they were really interested in the solution that we were offering. And so, you know, they have a similar demographic that is and that is a wave customer, you know, coming to the water. They’re more focused on the experience various on the experience level. So there was there was a natural fit for us there. So we partnered with them. We provide the location to their their members. We’ve also partnered with the boat licensing Company. So boater example with Smart Boat at All under the umbrella to provide offerings for them. So part of that growth strategy has been partnerships. And you know, the approach I like to take with those is really just seen how can we help? And I think that’s sort of an important takeaway that I think any entrepreneur should have. And going into any discussion with someone else in the marine space is just starting with the mindset of like, how can you help? Don’t think about yourself. Yeah, just how can you help these people? And then naturally, if there’s an alignment there, it’s going to help you and it’s going to help your business. And so with that approach been able to facilitate for the partnerships and help grow the company and exposure through that.
Talha [00:35:11] Right? Cool. So you alluded to, there’s always a hesitance towards change and you’ve been doing this for a while. What change do you see on the horizon?
Adam Allore [00:35:22] I think in the marine industry as a whole, there’s some changes that I’m really excited about. Certainly more EVs in the space. And then we’re talking about camps, electric company. There’s lots of other great solutions there. So that’s pushing forward. I like to see that I’m excited by some of the other alternative ways that people are able to get on the water. Now, whether it’s boat sharing or boat renting or the peer to peer boat companies growth, I’m excited by those changes in the space to where yeah, not not everyone has to own their own boat and the costs associated with that. Let’s get more people in the water and let’s think of innovation that can support that. So that’s been exciting to see. And then for us, I mean, as a company, some innovation coming down the pipeline like we’ve been working really hard on like this are routing algorithms for example, will factor in the draft of your vessel. Yeah, Yeah, exactly. We did everything and we’re there but it factors in the draft, your vessel and also the current water level conditions. So you can select the TIDE station. We’ll update the map based on that type station and then wherever you want to read it, we’ll factor in everything and also get you there. So that that’s the navigation piece. And then we’ve got, you know, this community that they’re allowing boaters to steer points of interest content on the application itself. And we’ve had a large uptick with that. Now, I think 40,000 plus points of interest shared on our maps all can be generated, but I think there’s going to be a really cool amalgamation of these these two types of solutions for us where now it’s like, okay, great, I want to get from here as quickly and safely as possible or maybe not as quickly. That’s that’s not true for boating, right? You got to enjoy the ride. It’s not about getting access for some people.
Talha [00:37:10] It is like we said, some people just fly from A to B to see the D and one day. Yeah.
Adam Allore [00:37:15] Yeah, yeah. So yeah, You want to do a wide open throttle by all means.
Talha [00:37:19] No to them. Right. Either as it all mails the sailboat or. Yeah.
Adam Allore [00:37:26] Yeah, yeah. Even slower than.
Talha [00:37:28] He’s like I just want to get there by the end of it.
Adam Allore [00:37:32] Yeah. So I think we will be able to take this sort of like where you want to go. We’ll figure out that and then we can start amalgamating. Well, did you know about this along the way and allow the community to help that routing experience for everyone? So I’m excited by that as sort of the next step for us as a company.
Merrill Charette [00:37:49] As we come to our conclusion here, what type of tips would you give a budding entrepreneur in this space?
Adam Allore [00:37:56] Yeah, I think getting unbiased feedback as quickly as you can and cost effective ways you can is is really critical. And I think a lot of people, one, are very guarded of their ideas. I think it’s best to just be communicative them, get that really feedback. And also you don’t need to build the be all and end all of your vision. The reality is it’s probably gonna change so much can get flipped on its head and go a million different directions by the end of the day that think about how can I really test the problem I’m trying to solve? What can I build as fast, as quickly as possible and get that in front of people who don’t know and actually don’t even know that you necessarily this is your company. Make them think that you’re just a rep from them and you don’t care whether or not they think it’s good or bad. So unbiased feedback really as quickly as possible. And, you know, don’t be afraid to go into spaces that you’re not particularly familiar with. You know, I had a bit of mapping technology experience prior to starting the company. It’s got a lot more now. Now we’ve got people on the team to help support me with that. I don’t really take on that role anymore, but just jump into new things. It’s amazing what you can learn really quickly when when you need to.
Merrill Charette [00:39:13] Yeah, that’s a thing about entrepreneurship. You got to figure out how to do it all.
Adam Allore [00:39:17] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I know so much about taxes and like payroll and all that administrative stuff that I wish I didn’t, frankly, but you kind of got it.
Talha [00:39:27] And then Adam stemming like, do them and then do more. Like everybody’s got an idea for an app nowadays. How does somebody know their idea is worth pursuing?
Adam Allore [00:39:38] Yeah, I think if you really want to get face to face with people, I think that at that stage it’s really important. And being really honest to yourself when you show whatever your type of solution that you’re trying to construct, you want to get from people and you want to see their eyes light up and this is where it becomes a maybe bit more of an art than a science in the early stages. And again, I’m got my limited lens of experience of this, but can you get people’s eyes to layer with the concept that you’re showing? And so do you really need to build out wireframes and web apps to be able to do that? Maybe not. Maybe it is just a brochure, or maybe it’s just talking to a bunch of people. Can you can you see their eyes light up when you talk about the solution to their problem? And if you get that positive feeling, then then there’s something to pursue there.
Talha [00:40:30] Any words on logging in the make.
Adam Allore [00:40:33] In terms of like which needs just to focus on.
Talha [00:40:35] Yeah, I’m making an app. This is the niche that I’m going to make this app for.
Adam Allore [00:40:39] I think at least I can talk of my own experience. I chose a niche which I’m passionate about, and I think that’s been particularly critical for me. I mean, having industry experience and a background over that is extremely valuable. But I think it’s the passion that’s going to help you through those tough times, through nights when you’re having to juggle relationships and everything else kind of going on. My success has been focusing on a passionate area.
Talha [00:41:07] And collecting like minded people who are as passionate about it.
Adam Allore [00:41:10] Exactly. Go go passionate and work with some awesome people. And I think you can do a lot.
Merrill Charette [00:41:17] Awesome. Adam. Well, it was great to have this conversation with you and hear about the journey that you had in technology and Marine.
Adam Allore [00:41:25] My pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
Talha [00:41:27] You know, keep disrupting the industry. And good luck.
Adam Allore [00:41:32] Excellent.
Farah [00:41:40] Check back every Tuesday for our latest episode and be sure to like, share and subscribe to ship shaped up for.