By David Gee
We continue our look at new boating apps and platforms. For this latest Q&A, we speak with Wavve Boating Founder and CEO Adam Allore.
Boating Industry: Tell us about your day job, previous career, and boating background.
Adam Allore: Wavve Boating is my day job! I work with a fine team with a mission to make boating easier, safer, and more enjoyable for everyone. On a given day I will bounce between our software development, marketing, and sales teams.
Prior to founding Wavve Boating, I worked as a mechanical engineer for a variety of companies in the transportation and mining industries. To pay for my education, I worked at a marina on the St. Lawrence River.
From day one my parents had me in a boat. I spent much of my adolescence bouncing around the 1000 Islands along the St. Lawrence River in boats that I had supposedly ‘fixed up’ but in reality were in hilariously poor condition. Naturally, I developed a passion for being on the water and that has been a key aspect of my life ever since.
BI: Share the founding story and where the idea for the app came from?
AA: As mentioned, I worked at a marina for six years, and during that time saw two sets of problems: The first is that many new boaters, or those new to the area, did not know how to read a nautical chart, or frankly did not care to. It was too complex and cumbersome to many. I would see the result of this negligence as those same people would come limping back to the marina with a damaged boat or motor. The St. Lawrence River is particularly treacherous in spots.
The second thing is I would constantly get asked questions such as “Where’s the best beach?” “Where can I catch this particular kind of fish?” “My friend told me about this half-moon bay, how do I get there?” And so on. I would try to educate people with a map, or use rudimentary directions like “head south between those two islands, then turn right and line the bow of your boat with the tall birch of the next island,” etc.
I knew there had to be a better solution, so after working as an engineer for eight years and being dissatisfied with the available navigational products on the market, I decided to tackle this problem. I hacked together a basic website, with the help of my brother-in-law, that had some basic functionality. The next weekend, I purchased a booth at a local boat show to sell an app that really didn’t quite exist yet. With my website that was pretending to be an app, and some basic promotional material, I set out to obtain boater’s feedback at this boat show and the results were astounding. Tons of people were coming by the booth trying to find ‘Wavve’ in the app store, and were disappointed they couldn’t download it. I knew the problems I was working to solve resonated with other people, and shortly thereafter, I quit my job as an engineer to build this company.
BI: Explain some of the basic features and functionality of the app?
AA: With Wavve, a boater can program their nautical map with the draft of their vessel, along with the current water level/tidal conditions, to easily show them where they can go in blue, and not go, in red.
On top of this, we’ve developed a community layer allowing boaters to share their local boating knowledge by marking points of interest such as beach locations, fishing locations, waterside restaurants, and more. This content can be kept private, shared with friends, or with the whole Wavve community.
Lastly, boaters can build ‘fleets’ of friends allowing them to see each other on the water making those raft ups that much easier.
We are also releasing a new solution called Wavve Clubs allowing boat clubs to share exclusive information to their club members through a web portal that connects to the Wavve Boating app. We have a number of great clubs signed up including those from both the Freedom Boat Club and Carefree networks.
BI: Out of all of those things what do you see as the main unique value proposition?
AA: It’s really the vision of the product. We aren’t trying to be a replacement chart plotter. Wavve is simply designed to improve the boating experience allowing boaters to focus more on what is important to them - good times with family and friends.
BI: Detail a little about your path to monetization. Will you charge for a subscription, be supported by advertisers, something else?
AA: Currently Wavve Boating the app offers a 14-day free trial followed by two subscription options; $19.49/year or $4.99/month. Our new Wavve Clubs platform will charge based on the number of licenses that the boat club, or organization, chooses to purchase for their members starting at $89/month. We prefer to use this method for monetization in lieu of advertising, or some more mischievous data play that other software companies use. I think this provides a better experience for our customers and we are committed to continuous development and improvement.
BI: Besides making a buck or two, what is your goal for the platform?
AA: To create something new that helps more people get on the water. I had a fortunate upbringing where I could learn a lot from my Dad about fixing a boat, navigating, and learning where to go. Most people don’t have that opportunity. I want boating to be less exclusive so everyone can feel empowered to take advantage of the joy of boating.
BI: Obviously we don’t know all of what technology and the Internet of Things will bring in the next few years, but are there some future functionalities you hope to bring to the app that the technology doesn’t exist for today?
AA: We’ll continue work on Wavve Clubs providing a backend for boating organizations to guide members to popular boating destinations and communicate with members while on the water. We’ll continue to develop and support this platform along with Wavve Boating - the app. From Wavve, expect to see further innovation in our dynamic tidal map, community sharing features, and further harnessing of key mobile technologies coming down the pipeline like 5G and augmented reality.