We’re always interested in talking to the driving forces behind new start-ups within the lifestyle industry and for this interview we’ll be focusing on a new nautical travel company called Antlos and their CEO Michelangelo Ravagnan.
LM: What is Antlos and whom is it targetting?
MR: Antlos was founded with the goal of making sailing holidays accessible and affordable to a wide range of tourists and travellers who want an authentic experience at sea. The project follows the concept and principles of a sharing economy, giving small boat owners the ability to increase their revenue in order to support their large running and maintenance costs. The Skippers in which we cooperate with are experts within their field and know how to provide a quality service. They provide an all-round experience for their guests by sharing their love of the sea and professional nautical skills.
LM: Tell us briefly about the Antlos team
MR: Let me underline that one of our most important assets is our team. A group of friends with a single goal of making Antlos a leading platform within the boating and yacht charter industry while offering an affordable service to travellers and tourists alike. As the CEO of Antlos what more could I wish for? The atmosphere in the office is really positive with good vibes, allowing us to work with utmost creativity at all times. We also have a solid technical team lead by Antlos CTO and co-founder Nicolas Peduzzi, who works closely with our CPO and third founder Marco Signori, with his team of designers, photographers and content creators. In recent months, we’ve had new members from abroad join our fine team. Ieva Strupule a Latvian who left the corporate world to become our Commercial Officer and Lauren Schmitt, an English/German with an international background as our Digital Marketing Manager.
LM: Has there been any change in strategy from the original idea?
MR: Of course, as with all startups we have to be ready to review and update our strategies of initial growth almost daily. We must pay attention, as it is a thriving field that can change rapidly.
LM: What is the potential in this market?
MR: The field of coastal and maritime tourism boasts a potentially very large market. Antlos aims to be the ideal and affordable holiday solution to those who don’t have the necessary nautical skills to cruise or sail a boat.
LM: What makes you different from the competition?
MR: I dare to say that we are not in competition with any other companies working in this field, we only think to do our job as best as we can. Instead, we see a great opportunity to create synergies and partnerships with other operators with whom we could help each other to achieve common goals.
LM: How was Antlos founded?
MR: We were lucky enough to have founded Antlos in Italy. After a few months trying to seek the necessary capital to develop our startup between Venice, Milan and London, we were selected by H-FARM Ventures, a leading startup incubator in Italy to participate in their acceleration program known as H-CAMP. Being one of the lucky few out of thousands of applications, we undertook a rigorous four-month training course, which was completed at the end of January this year. As soon as the program finished, we instantly found other Italian investors along with H-FARM, who decided to continue to help us develop our project with our first seed round. We have recently received our second seed round from Incos Invest, a Swedish investment fund that believed in our idea just a few weeks after we launched our website in May. These contributions have enabled us to grow our business, develop our platform, build important partnerships and expand our team. We plan to start fundraising for our Series A round in January 2016.
LM: Briefly, why should people choose Antlos?
MR: Because it’s simply #BetterOnBoard! Our prices are very competitive, our listings are of high quality and our fees are transparent. We have an easy split payment option for those seeking to book a boating holiday with friends, as well as the possibility to share a sailing experience with new people by booking a private cabin. Also, contrary to boat and yacht charter companies, Antlos has flexible terms and conditions with a guaranteed reimbursement in case of cancellation.
LM: How has the feedback been?
MR: The feedback is both very positive and encouraging. We have implemented a chat service to help us gather suggestions to better understand the difficulties of users, which is helping us to improve our user experience. As for the services provided by our fellow Skippers, we have so far received zero complaints!
LM: You’ve mentioned how well things are going for the company, what are your main objectives for the next 12 months?
MR: At the moment we are focused on recruiting Skippers who are based in the Caribbean for the upcoming winter season to have a full year of operations. We are currently dedicating our efforts to our new promotional campaign that will be launched at the end of the month, a video series entitled ‘Experiences are #BetterOnBoard’!
LM: What advice would you give to a start-up company, based on your own experience?
- (1). Develop a project within a markets/sectors that you have acquired skills in from previous experience and if possible, an area where you already have a strong network and excellent background knowledge.
- (2). In the analysis and early development of the project do not worry and fear that it will be stolen or copied. Interview and network with as many people as possible and collect as much feedback as you can. Feedback is essential in creating a quality service to meet the needs of your consumers and potential partners.
- (3). Target the right audience and choose your co-founders and all members of the team well. You will spend many long days and often late nights and potentially years together, so it is vital that the group bonds well and is determined to reach your ultimate goal.
- (4). Never stop learning. Train yourself and your colleagues to increase your overall abilities and skills, to enable you and your team to create key strategies essential for development.
- (5). Never give up on your dreams, do not break down and never give in to the difficulties. Often determination is rewarded.
Antlos – Where and how
Tel: +39 0422 789515
Via Sile 41
Treviso – Italy