A new investment venture has hit the superyacht market. Modern Classics, unveiled in late May, seeks to combine financial opportunity with a new approach to car ownership. Founder of the company, Mark Upton, previously worked onboard yachts and due to the lack of guidance he experience, set up CrewFo - a family office and financial service dedicated to crew. Modern Classics, his latest venture, marries his experience with superyacht crew finances and his passion for cars. “It started because we talked to a lot of crew about investments, what they do with their money and wanted to try to find them ways to stop wasting their money,” begins Upton.
He sees this new venture as a solution to two issues he encountered during his time as a crewmember. Firstly, it negates the problem of crew either buying a car and it sitting unused whilst they are at sea or renting a car for their time ashore. Secondly, it offers an opportunity for crew who aren’t sure of where to invest their earnings. “My brother is captain still and he has an old Porsche 911 that sits in a garage and he uses it for three weeks a year. I started asking other crew about it and they all do the same thing, they all own cars because they love cars and they like spending money on them, but all of a sudden they realise that they are actually throwing so much cash away.”
Modern Classics works by crewmembers buying founding memberships, which then afford them access to a number of ‘Modern Classic’ cars such as Porsches and BMWs from the late 1980s to mid 1990s. “They become part of the club, the club buys the cars and the founding members get three weeks access per year to any car that they like.” Once the club is successfully up and running, Upton will open up the membership for other yacht crew to buy points, which can be exchanged for the use of cars.
The venture is akin to a crowdfunding campaign, rather than a traditional investment. “The benefits they get in return are far better,” says Upton. Currently seeking founding members, those who join will receive membership in the company, dividends when the value of the company increases and three weeks of usage per year, as well as input and influence in the new company. Modern Classics currently have over 40 of these founding memberships left for £3,500 each. According to Upton, this will be the first company 100 per cent funded by yacht crew, and will not open to the general public. Since its announcement to the industry, Upton reports over £180,000 already committed by new members, and an overwhelming support for the concept from crew.
Modern Classics is a niche opportunity, within a niche industry, but it offers an interesting business venture for crew who wish to combine their passion for luxury car brands and desire to use their savings wisely. Yacht crew, set your engines…