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Sailogy group operates through two well-known brands: Sailogy.com and Master Yachting.
Powered by its proprietary algorithm, Sailogy – Master Yachting offers an excellent selection of professional boats with original images, descriptions and detailed equipment. Real-time booking is available with instant confirmation.
We sat down with founder Manlio Accardo to learn more.
We’d love to know about your career before Sailogy and where you first found that entrepreneurial spark.
I was born in beautiful Island of Sardinia, in the South of Italy in 1978 and I grew up with strong exposure to the sea and the nautical world.
I then worked following they typical managerial career, moving from large companies such as Ferrari and Bain & Company. In between I got my MBA from London Business School in 2006.
In 2013 I decided to pursue my passion and started Sailogy, with the goal of making the charter industry more modern and digital. I believe boating should be accessible to everyone, regardless of previous experience, level of fitness and budget.
Tell us about the business – what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers and so on?
The company is an online aggregator of rental offerings for boats and yachts, owned by professional charter companies. We have a similar business model to other large travel platforms; the closes comparable in term of revenue generation structure is Booking.com.
Around me work a team of very talented and motivated people. Our team primarily handles:
- Develop or IT platform, entirely proprietary and at the heart of everything we do.
- Manage the relationship with travellers (to advise them in identifying the best boat and assist them in case of any support before, during or after their holiday) and charter companies (to select only the best ones)
- Bring traffic on the portal, generating a lot of potential customers who would like to rent a boat for their holidays
How has the business evolved since its launch? When was this?
I am really proud to have nailed the business model since the very beginning and we never had to pivot or look for alternative revenue streams. We experienced insane growth pre-pandemic, both organically and through acquisitions. In late 2019 we were enjoying ourselves very much, little did we know what was coming around the corner. Since COVID we have pushed even harder on digitalisation and process streamline. Sailogy became more focused on quality in order to make sure that all our customers would disembark happy. Selecting the best charter companies is the first step into ensuring that quality is maintained throughout the charter experience.
What can you tell us about the market and how Sailogy is positioning themselves for success?
The market is very fragmented with most offline players managing their companies with a family business mindset. There are a few online companies, most of which with software acquired of-the-shelf from large vendors, and therefore with very little value added for the final customers.
We invest a lot in developing one of the best in-house systems in this industry. The system is so much advanced that was also licenced to Beneteau Group some years ago.
On top of this we put a lot of effort in selecting the best charter companies and boats around the world to provide the customer the best experience possible.
I can safely say that we represent the highest level of quality in the industry.
In the last two years we have seen a lot of travel restrictions due to Covid-19, how did Sailogy overcome this? What was your strategy during that time?
I distinctively remember in April 2020 we sold only 10 holidays and we cancelled 1,500 that we had sold in the previous months (with projected departure during summer 2020). It was just insane. We focused on three things:
- Injecting cash into the company. Going out of business because of Covid was not an option. We also productively discussed with our creditors and agreed on a path to get out of the pandemic
- Stabilising our workforce. Making sure nobody lost his job during those difficult months so that our team could take on the massive operational challenge with the feeling that their employment was safe
- Protect our customers that were stuck at home (just like us) and could not enjoy the holiday they had booked.
Our “no shortcuts” policy paid off very well and we are now collecting the benefits of our strategy back then.
What does your competitive landscape look like and how does Sailogy differentiate itself?
Most of our competitors push on “best price” but best price always comes with a cost attached: less service. At Sailogy and Master Yachting we are not willing to compromise on boat selection, insurances, controlled payments and directly handled after sales. We believe that our customers are smart and are not afraid to opt for a quality option to enjoy more peace of mind during their holidays. In the end, who would want to gamble a well-earned week with the family just to save €100.
Could you tell us about some of your biggest achievements to date?
I will never forget June 2018 when we for the first time crossed the €1M revenue in one month. It felt like a new beginning, and it was, in fact. The entire company shifted mindset and we looked less like a start-up and more like a strong team on a mission to change our industry.
What do you plan to do with the money you raise? Why is it the best time for Sailogy to grow?
Late 2022 showed a very clear path for all tech companies: make it simple. From Meta to Amazon, large and small tech companies wisely realized it was time to reduce corporate complexity and focus on growth from the core. We designed our 2023 plan with the goal of hitting EBITDA profitability and we can successfully achieve this goal given the current KPIs.
Funds will be invested in more targeted customer acquisition, additional distribution channels, branding and, as usual, perfecting our software.
What do you love to do in your free time?
I am a terrible but very dedicated golfer. Also, my lovely 3-year-old daughter manages to grab a great part of my attention when I am not working.
If you weren’t building Sailogy, what do you think you’d be doing?
I would be building another business. Stay tuned.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far building Sailogy?
Managing expectations is more important than anything else.
Sailogy is a great opportunity to invest in a marketplace aiming to make sailing available to everyone – visit Sailogy’s campaign page.