As a superyacht industry veteran, Wiscour-Conter’s software was originally designed for superyacht management. However, his decision to expand the company to Silicon Valley and diversify into other sectors were part of a new strategy to benefit the product, rather than playing host to the client.
“Earlier this year we added other assets, and at our office in Brazil they now use it for helicopter and property management and family office work”, he explains. “I believe that yachting has found it harder to recover than other luxury sectors because it is so closed to the outside. The way a market grows is through communication and exchanging information to help each other and, when given the choice, you naturally invest more in a market that responds better.”
It is this insular mentality that has proven prudent Wiscour-Conter's decision to expand the breadth of his client pool to markets seemingly more receptive to information sharing, despite the software’s creation being rooted in yachting.
“In Silicon Valley it’s amazing to see how people are linking up all the time, and it’s completely the reverse of yachting”, he says. “It triggers an evolution, and while it might seem crazy to the yachting community to give things away for free, it ultimately generates more of a return for those who do - and to the community as a whole. This is one of the keys to the success of Silicon Valley today.”
Software solutions for yacht management, both as an asset and a functional entity, are a relatively new addition to the industry and an example of innovating in response to demand. But the industry’s receptiveness to innovators has often come in for criticism, and as a technology entrepreneur, Wiscour-Conter feels it is too risky to keep all eggs in one one basket when working to build something that can help many companies and people.
“While there may be barriers to entry the reason companies aren’t coming into the industry may be because they don’t want to. I was at a conference many years ago and I was so concerned about the state of the market that I declared it ‘Jurassic yacht!’ now I look around and I don’t know if the situation has improved, but I sincerely hope what we can learn by opening up more will help make yachting also a better place [as they say in Silicon Valley].”