The Vision behind Yachting Ventures

The Islander speaks to Gabriella Richardson. This Mallorca-based entrepreneur is the CEO of Yachting Ventures – a yachting innovation hub and startup community.


Gabbi Richardson, Yachting Ventures’ founder, grew up around the yachting industry in Mallorca. After leaving school, she spent a season on board a 30m Ferretti as a stewardess before going on to study law at the University of Liverpool. She later joined Camper & Nicholsons as a charter broker.

Her introduction to the startup world was working at SeedLegals – at the time, a startup itself. SeedLegals is a one-stop shop for dealing with the legal documentation necessary to set up, raise and close investment rounds for fledgling enterprises. Gabbi’s role meant she was speaking to founders all day – every day. She was also working with startup accelerators and investors to help automate and speed up the process of funding. ”I found it super inspiring, especially when entrepreneurs were managing to run functioning companies while holding down a full-time job. Then, by closing a funding round they were able to pour all that energy and vision into their own businesses. It made it all seem achievable and possible”, says Gabbi.

With her interest piqued, it wasn’t long before Gabbi connected the dots back to the yachting industry. Surprised at the lack of support for startups in this industry compared with other sectors, Gabbi created Yachting Ventures. With industry support from the outset, many startups and notable mentors signed up to work with Yachting Ventures’ accelerator programme. One of these was Merijn Ward at the Superyacht Times, which put Yachting Ventures firmly on the industry’s radar.

The 2020 pandemic year gave birth to many ideas as the population ruminated in their homes. The support that Yachting Ventures provided to burgeoning company founders in the yachting industry and community, was the catalyst it needed to grow and scale these businesses. To date, Yachting Ventures’ startups have roots in 25 countries and have collectively raised £30,000,000+ of funding!

Fast forward to 2022, Gabbi completed her maritime law qualifications and felt it was the right time to devote all of her focus to Yachting Ventures. Making the move back to Mallorca, Gabbi set about strengthening and growing the global community of leisure marine and superyacht startups, which make up the Yachting Ventures family. Their new platform grants access to a wide range of resources, discounts, industry contacts, regular founder meet-ups and workshops. Two of these were last years’ successful events at Monaco and METS, and there are more planned throughout 2023.

With access to the inside track on cutting-edge, potentially industry-changing ideas and technologies, I asked Gabbi what trends she is seeing emerge. She explains, “The IoT (Internet of Things) is definitely something that is becoming more and more relevant across the industry by harnessing big data technology. Autonomous technologies are being utilised to increase safety on board. They are also helping to remove the barrier for entry to potential boat owners by automating control systems. An array of apps and platforms are aiming to streamline booking processes. And of course, alternative propulsion technology is huge.”



Here are some of The Islander’s picks from Yachting Ventures’ startup portfolio for 2023:


Bringing FinTech to the leisure marine market, SALT is changing the way people purchase boats by streamlining, simplifying and digitising the boat buying experience. Their digital platform and app have secured capital to lend to customers after gaining traction and demonstrating success to both investors and regulators. They aim to launch into the UK market in early 2023.

SALT plans to expand geographically as well as partner with service providers such as insurers. This is will allow customers to add on services at the click of a button. With ambitions to become THE one-stop shop for seamless professional services when buying a boat, SALT is one to watch in 2023!


Hullbot was co-founded in Sydney, Australia by Tom Loefler and Karl Watfern in 2015. They are ”Passionate about the potential [that] robotics can have to address environmental problems in a scalable way that makes sound business sense.”

Their robots have been designed to autonomously clean the hulls of yachts, removing biofoul from the hull, the waterline and niche areas. The bots use cameras and machine learning to navigate around the hull, with rotating brushes to remove slime. Because the robots can clean early and often, they keep the fouling under control so that shell growth is prevented.

The company has been operating a fleet of 10 robots for over a year, with paying users for over 18 months. It has raised multiple rounds of financing from both international and local investors and has been supported by Australian government grants. After many years of research and development, the robots are ready to be deployed commercially. The company intends to clean its first boats in Europe and the USA this year ahead of expanding to key yachting hubs.


Mallorca-based startup, Charter Itinerary is the brainchild of Boris De Bel and Candice Christiansen. It has been operating for just over 18 months and during that time has developed a game-changing, easy-to-navigate interactive platform for charter brokers. This will allow them to create itineraries in a fraction of the usual time – minutes instead of hours. This first-of-a-kind platform is gathering legions of users throughout the industry – currently, 900 active users are registered.

New features in 2023 include a ‘Yacht Proposal Module’ that aims to automate the laborious task of creating proposals. It will allow the user to present a selection of suitable yachts to their charter clients, summarising all key features, charter fees, APA and VAT. It is fully interactive and editable.

If their early successes are anything to go by, Charter Itineraries will go from strength to strength in 2023. Watch this space!


Anchoring has never been a pleasurable task and everyone has a different way of monitoring it. Some people dive in the water and some rely on anchor alarm apps or their chart plotter. VisionAnchor is the first smart anchoring system in the world that gives you eyes on your anchor. It’s a smart anchoring buoy that attaches to any anchor and tracks its location. It works like any other anchor alarm but the main difference is that it tracks the actual position of the anchor instead of doing calculations on the boat’s position. It also features an underwater camera that streams live video to your phone. Day or night from anywhere on the planet.

It’s a great time for VisionAnchor as this system not only keeps the crew safe, but it also helps the environment. With multiple sensors, it tracks the temperature, depth, wave height and other parameters that give us information about marine life. It keeps track of protected areas where anchoring damages the underwater plant life, and maps the seabed with photos similar to an underwater Google satellite view.

With support from Silent Yachts, Arcadia Yachts and several European distributors, VisionAnchor’s system goes into production in the next few months and will be available in time for summer 2023 to customers who pre-order.


Edorado is a zero-emission powerboat company from The Netherlands. Co-founders, Giel Groothuis and Godert van Hardenbroek share a strong vision on sustainability and luxury – what they call ‘performance without a trace’. Edorado launched its flagship 100% electric hydrofoil powerboat, the Edorado 8S, in September 2021. After building several prototypes to develop the automatic control system in-house, the first production boat is now under construction and set to hit the waters this year. The transition towards sustainable fast powerboating is finally taking off and the Edorado team has been working hard on the right tech to place them in prime position for this exciting new market space.

Edorado currently employs a full-time team of 17 in Dordrecht, The Netherlands. Before setting up Edorado, Giel was leading a business incubation program in Shanghai, and Godert has gained extensive experience with hydrogen and electric race-car development. The combination of their complementary backgrounds makes this a very strong founding team. The product design of the Edorado 8S is led by well-known designer, Ivo van Hulten. Using his years of experience in the German automotive industry, he has designed a boat with powerful lines and proportions, from the extended bow to the wraparound screen.

Edorado is funded by a group of private investors, including renowned technology entrepreneur and philanthropist, Steven Schuurman. The company is preparing to raise Series-A next year to further scale-up production and international marketing efforts. The product roadmap is now focused on marketing the 8S, whilst simultaneously developing a 12m model.

By Lucie Gardiner

Photos by Yachting Ventures

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